Back in late July Senators Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, and a few other conservative senators started a new initiative to defund ObamaCare with a continuing resolution. Now, a month later, Senator Lee is definitely staying the course and continuing to promote the defunding of ObamaCare.
Since Congress hasn’t gotten its annual appropriations bills for fiscal 2014 passed, and since the new fiscal year begins on October 1, it’s highly likely that the federal government will be funded for the time being with a continuing resolution, as has become routine in recent years. Senator Lee’s idea is to get the House to introduce a continuing resolution that funds the government at the same level as 2013, but with a provision (that’s either in the original bill or added by amendment) that completely defunds any spending on ObamaCare in 2014.
If the House would pass such a continuing resolution, then the Senate would have the choice of passing the same bill that would defund ObamaCare, or refuse to pass it and thereby potentially force a government shutdown.
Senator Lee’s proposal, as stated in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, was initially supported by 17 senators, but after several establishment Republicans lashed out at Lee’s proposal, five senators dropped their support. At about the same time in late July, more than 60 Republicans in the House signed a letter urging Speaker John Boehner "to defund the implementation and enforcement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in any relevant appropriations bill brought to the House floor in the 113th Congress, including any continuing appropriations bill."
Two bills that would defund ObamaCare had already been introduced on July 11. Senator Ted Cruz had introduced S. 1292, "a bill to prohibit the funding of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act." It now has 29 cosponsors. Rep. Tom Graves had introduced H.R. 2682, "Defund Obamacare Act of 2013." It now has 138 cosponsors. However, remember that just because one of your congressmen is listed as a cosponsor of one of these bills doesn't mean that he or she supports the "defunding ObamaCare with a continuing resolution" strategy.
The Republican naysayers regarding Lee’s proposal falsely characterize it as an attempt to force a government shutdown and maintain that this attempt would harm the Republicans’ chances of holding the House and gaining seats in the Senate in 2014. They also point out that there are not enough votes in the House and Senate to make this defunding strategy work anyway.
Lee and others acknowledge that as of now there are not enough votes to make their plan work, but that since ObamaCare is so unpopular and since it will be harder and harder to repeal it later, now is the time to take the defunding proposal to the American people. If a massive grassroots outpouring of support for defunding via a continuing resolution develops, then there just might be enough votes to get a continuing resolution that defunds ObamaCare passed in both House and Senate.
Whether or not this would actually lead to the defunding of ObamaCare, such a grassroots outpouring would prepare the way for a referendum on ObamaCare in the 2014 congressional elections.
Oh yes, President Obama would probably veto such a defunding bill; however, we could leave it to President Obama and Democrat leaders in Congress to calculate the political consequences of a veto at that point.
Please contact your representative and senators and urge them to support Senator Lee’s proposal to get a continuing resolution that defunds ObamaCare passed by both House and Senate. Contact them by early September because the vote will occur sometime in September.