There are three problems with a proposed resolution in the House of Representatives designed to delay implementation of the Affordable Care Act and avert a shutdown should the government not be funded after Sept. 30.
1. The Senate will never pass it. 2. President Barack Obama will never sign it. 3. It is no slam-dunk the House will even muster the 213 votes needed to approve it.
Nonetheless, Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, has signed on to a resolution set in motion by Rep. Tom Graves, R-GA, designed to fund the government for Fiscal Year 2014 while delaying the ACA until 2015.
The Graves resolution – which has 59 cosponsors – in theory would prevent a government shutdown from taking place after Sept. 30 when current funding for the government expires. That’s less than two weeks away.
“If there’s any single issue that can unite House Republicans and has the strong support of the American people, it’s getting rid of ObamaCare,” said Labrador in a press release issued today. “House Republicans should listen to the majority of Americans that are worried that ObamaCare will negatively impact their health care. The Administration has already delayed the employer mandate to 2015. The Congress should delay the mandate for American families too. The resolution I’m cosponsoring will keep the government open while keeping overall spending at the same rate the Senate has already agreed to through the sequester. House Leadership should bring it to the floor for a vote. If the House passes it and the Senate rejects it, it will be the Senate that’s responsible for shutting down the government. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that, but House Republicans must seize this opportunity to keep our promises to the American people on ObamaCare.”
The release goes on to explain that H.J.Res. 62, the Stability, Security and Fairness Resolution, could achieve long-term stability by funding the government for the next fiscal year. It includes the three House-passed appropriations bills that affect national security and veterans.
Though everyone in the Idaho congressional delegation would like to see the ACA go away or be delayed, this tactic is like calling a time-out in the final seconds of a football game in which you are behind by 50 points.
The Labrador/Graves draw-a-line-in-the-sand strategy is that House come with a strong message in the form of a measure that delivers a new Continuing Resolution and a delay on the ACA implementation for individuals. There would be no mixed message when it came time to negotiate with the Senate.
That said, it’s hard to believe the Democrat-controlled Senate and the president are going to sign on to the delay of their signature legislative package, the ACA.
Republicans who think they will should enjoy their TV time-out and then get back to work on the point Adm. Mike Mullen, former chair of the Joint Chiefs, made a couple years ago when he said our nation’s No. 1 national security issue is our national debt.
One can argue the ACA is a contributor to future debt but this last minute legislative maneuver will do little more than add posture to ACA detractors.
The country will technically run out of money after midnight on Sept. 30 — and, get this, Congress is scheduled to be on recess the week leading up to that.
Letting the present continuing resolution lapse could be ugly and punitive to innocent bystanders. In mid-October Congress will be faced with raising the debt ceiling and conservatives will be demanding spending cuts to balance out that cost.
Here is a summary of the Graves resolution provided by Labrador’s office:
– A Continuing Resolution for Fiscal Year 2014 for the nine non-security bills, with overall spending for the entire bill, security and non-security, at the post-sequestration number of $967.4 billion.
– Prioritizes funding for national security and veterans.
– Includes the Defense, Homeland Security and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2014 as passed by the House.
– Provides healthcare fairness and taxpayer relief by defunding and delaying ObamaCare until 2015.