Enough messing around.
President Obama has made it clear that he has no intention of taking the lead on dealing with America’s huge debt crisis.
As I wrote in this newsletter three weeks ago, the budget he submitted is an insult. Rather than real spending reductions, he merely proposes slowing down the rate of spending increases from the binge of the last three years.
It is clear the president is engaged in a strategy that will force Republicans to make the first move. Then, he will attack their proposal as mean-spirited and try to score cheap political points instead of accomplishing real fiscal security for America.
I have every expectation that Paul Ryan, Chairman of the Budget Committee, will produce a smart budget that offers conservative solutions to our long term debt crisis, including entitlement reform.
There is little chance of getting any of it enacted, however, if Republicans are negotiating in good faith and the White House is playing games.
House Republicans need to force the issue. And to do that, they need to confront Obama where he is most out-of-touch with the American people.
Obamacare Does Not Age Well
Today is the one-year anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare).
Recall that the bill was passed in a sneaky, underhanded way to get around its unpopularity with the American people.
The Senate had already passed its version of the bill when the special election for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts became a referendum on ObamaCare, drawing money and support from all over the country. Scott Brown won in a stunning upset, and the Democrats no longer had enough votes to pass a conference version of the bill that reconciled the Senate and House versions.
But instead of heeding the will of the American people and starting over on bipartisan reform, the Democratic House simply passed the Senate version of the bill, avoiding the need for a conference version.
The Obama administration and other Democratic leaders stated that once the bill was signed into law, the American people would see its benefits andcome around to supporting it, and any issues with the law that needed to be tweaked could be fixed along the way.
The reality has been almost totally the opposite.
The latest Rasmussen poll shows that 53% of Americans favor repealing the law versus 42% who oppose repeal. The numbers amongst independents are higher, with 56% favoring repeal.
That’s about the same percentage of people who opposed the bill one year ago, showing that the passage of time has not changed the way Americans see the law.
A Gallup poll also shows that a plurality of Americans believe the healthcare law is going to make their healthcare and the care of their fellow Americans worse, rather than better.
At this one year anniversary, it is clear that ObamaCare does not age well with the American people. And it’s about to get a whole lot worse.
One Year Later, One Big Failure
Speaker Pelosi infamously told the American people “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”
Now we know.
I’ve already written about the 1,968 new powers granted to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the 159 new agencies, and the dizzying array of new deadlines and requirements present in the law. View the Center for Health Transformation’s (CHT) wall charts here.
At an event co-sponsored by the CHT and The Heritage Foundation last week, Dave Merritt, John Goodman, Jim Capretta and I discussed the destructive aspects of this law and how it is already driving up costs and hurting our quality of care.
You can watch video of the panel discussion at healthtransformation.net.
Among the worst offenses found in the law:
• $522 billion in destructive new taxes, much of them on medical devices and investments–exactly the sort of lifesaving breakthroughs that improve healthcare.
• $2,100 per family in higher premiums according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
• The CLASS Act, a new entitlement that even the Secretary of Health and Human Services called “unsustainable” and the president’s own Deficit Commission said was “financially unsound.”
• 800,000 fewer jobs by 2021 according to the Director of the CBO
The Republican Policy Committee is a great resource for analysis showing how sick ObamaCare will make our already ailing healthcare system. It will be releasing new data and studies throughout the week.
The big finding the committee will release is the fact that, when fully implemented, ObamaCare will cost $2.6 trillion at a time when we are facing a $14 trillion debt.
Attach ObamaCare Repeal to the Debt Ceiling Bill
This brings us back to the President’s irresponsible budget proposal and his deliberate unwillingness lead on the issue of our enormous debt.
This cynical public relations strategy from the White House is almost certain to provoke a long, drawn out fight between the Republican House of Representatives and the White House.
This fight is inevitable and House Republicans should do what they can to make sure it is on terms advantageous to them.
That is why House Republicans should make repealing ObamaCare a central issue in the coming budget fights.
House rules don’t allow for specifically defunding the implementation of ObamaCare through continuing resolutions without defunding entire programs that are affected by the law, like SCHIP and Community Health Centers. These kinds of rules were routinely broken by the Nancy Pelosi Democrats but Speaker Boehner is determined to hold the Republicans to a higher standard.
There is, however, a looming vote on the debt ceiling that offers Republicans an opportunity.
Republicans should attach the full repeal of ObamaCare to the debt ceiling increase bill and pass it immediately.. While passing it, they should make clear that they would be willing to pass a clean debt ceiling increase if the White House and Senate Democrats agree to defund the implementation of ObamaCare through 2012 as part of a package of real spending reductions.
The debt ceiling does not become a crisis until June or July.
If the House passes the bill with an attachment to repeal ObamaCare as early as possible, there will be several months to marshal grassroots pressure on the 18 Democratic Senators running for reelection in 2012.
If President Obama is still determined to be unserious about bringing spending under control, he will be forced to decide whether he is willing to risk a financial crisis by defending a program that a majority of the American people wants to repeal.
The American people should not be forced to accept an increase in the debt ceiling without significant reductions in the out-of-control spending in Washington.
After running up such enormous deficits and placing our children’s and grandchildren’s future at risk, House Republicans should not allow the President to run and hide while they clean up his mess.
Making ObamaCare a central issue in the budget fights is the best way to force President Obama to confront our debt crisis head-on.
P.S. Callista and I will be in Des Moines, Iowa, this Friday to screen our documentary, Rediscovering God in America. For more information, please click here.
Newt’s Quick Links
• Peter Ferrara and I make the case that the Bush tax cuts must be made permanent. Read our article in the Wall Street Journal here.
• In his piece on Renewing American Leadership, Marc Nuttle argues the Moral Imperative of Deficit Reduction. Read the piece here.
• At ReAL Action, watch Dr. Zudhi Jasser react to Congressman King’s hearings on Muslim radicalization in America. You can watch the Fox interview here.