Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) has spent every day for nine months fighting for the full repeal of ObamaCare. Although he has at times been ridiculed, ignored and doubted, King campaigned tirelessly to repeal the Democrats’ health care law.
On Tuesday, the House will start the debate and vote to repeal ObamaCare as its first major legislative action since the Republicans took control. ObamaCare repeal is expected to pass the House on Thursday, and Steve King will have been proven right all along.
“The strategy for repeal that I laid out last March is on track. First file the repeal. Then get as many signatures. Then file a discharge petition. Use it as a tool to unseat Democrats. Win a majority. Then vote to repeal ObamaCare, and we’re on track on all that,” King told HUMAN EVENTS.
I caught up with King in an elevator bank in the hotel where the House Republicans were meeting for their annual retreat. King, wearing an open-collared blue shirt and a black leather jacket, spoke intently about his dogged campaign to fully repeal ObamaCare.
“If there’s anybody in America who has pounded on the repeal of ObamaCare persistently and relentlessly every day, it’s me,” he said.
King’s dedication to repealing ObamaCare comes from a principled standpoint. “I want a country full of liberty, and freedom. And our vitality is diminished by ObamaCare, that’s my Number One argument against it.”
The Democrats embracing of ObamaCare come from a worldview that is not in sync with the American people, according to King. First, he blames ObamaCare on the Democrats’ overarching philosophical goal of “creating dependency.” He said in all areas of government, the Democrats “want to expand the dependency class because that’s what expands their political support.”
“What has made this a unique and great nation? It’s not been dependency. It’s been individualism,” said King. “And the Democrats are creating dependency, and we are trying to save individualism.”
Second, he said that the Democrats pushed through ObamaCare because of their “irrational Leftist lust for socialized medicine.”
“They can’t help themselves; it’s in their DNA. These people are Leftists. They don’t see this country the way that we do. Their idea of American Exceptionalism is yet to come,” he said.
King introduced his bill to fully repeal ObamaCare last March, one day after ObamaCare passed the House. King’s one-paragraph, 40-word repeal legislation stated: “Effective as of the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, such Act is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such Act had not been enacted.”
He told me his quick act to start the repeal process created a huge blow-back. “When I first introduced the ObamaCare repeal language, clear back last March, people said, ‘Well that’s an act of futility. . . . We’ll never be able to repeal something — it’s the law of the land, there isn’t any pattern or history of that.’ I said, ‘You’ve got to just start doing the right thing,’ ” said King.
On the same day that he introduced his bill, King released a statement that is now eerily prescient: “The Pelosi Democrats will pay a price for their overreach. This fight is far from over.”
The House Democrats let King’s repeal bill linger in committees for months. In June, King filed a discharge petition to get the repeal bill to have an up-or-down vote on the floor.
“I was ridiculed all over the blogs for filing the discharge petition. Well that discharge petition was an essential tool in a significant number of House seats we might not have picked up otherwise. Raul Labrador in Idaho says that is the reason that he got elected to Congress,” said King.
King spent the rest of the year trying to wrangle up the 218 Members’ signatures needed for the discharge. In August, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich wrote that King’s bill was “the most practical solution to repeal ObamaCare” and urged supporters to call their Congressmen to support the discharge petition.
King’s discharge petition to bring to the floor a vote to repeal ObamaCare got 173 signatures. He had all but six of the House Republicans sign it, including all of the Leadership. One Democrat, Gene Taylor of Mississippi, signed the discharge petition but lost his re-election in November.
When Speaker of the House Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announced that they would bring up the repeal of ObamaCare first out of the gate in January, King realized his first goal had been achieved.
“I’m very happy that leadership has raised it to this level of priority,” said King. He said that all the language from his 40-word repeal bill is included in the House bill, House Resolution (H.R.) 2 of the 112th Congress. “I wanted it to be H.R. 1, but I can accept H.R. 2,” King told me.
Conventional wisdom is that the Republican House will pass ObamaCare repeal, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will never bring it to a vote in the Senate. But King disagrees.
“I will not concede that the repeal of ObamaCare will not get through the Senate. I believe we have a reasonable chance if there’s a procedure [or] means that can be devised to force a vote on ObamaCare, without being held up by a filibuster. If they take a vote in the Senate that takes a simple majority, I will predict that they will vote to repeal,” said King.
After the vote to repeal, the Republicans have pledged to begin to defund ObamaCare through the Appropriations Committees, which set discretionary spending priorities. King’s strategy is to include the defunding in the appropriations bills to force Obama’s hand.
“We start unfunding the implementation and enforcement of ObamaCare in every appropriations bill,” said King. “At some point, the President is going to be compelled to sign that legislation. When he does that, he has capitulated to our agenda to repeal ObamaCare and accepted that repeal is essentially the will of the people.”
“We can easily completely defund it through the appropriations in 2011 and 2012,” said a confident King. However, King will not rest after defunding ObamaCare. He wants the law fully repealed. “ObamaCare lying there in the authorization becomes a dormant malignancy. It will metastasize if we leave it there. So we must rip it out by the roots,” he told me.
President Obama said he will not sign the repeal bill if it gets to his desk. Again, King is resolute, saying, “We can’t despair because there’s another impossible roadblock.”
King’s final step in his quest to to fully repeal ObamaCare would happen after the 2012 election. “We still have to elect a President who will sign the full repeal,” said King.