Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is interviewed by Niels Lesniewski of Roll Call at the NRSC about his new book "The Long Game," June 2, 2016.

Tom Williams | AP Photo

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Immediately after the 2014 elections, an op-ed appeared in the Wall Street Journal from House and Senate leaders John Boehner (R-OH) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY). In it, they pledged to get the country back on track, which included “renewing our commitment to repeal ObamaCare, which is hurting the job market along with Americans’ health care.”

Obamacare repeal was a campaign promise for nearly every Republican—you’ll recall that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell campaigned on repealing the law “root and branch”—and one of the most decisive issues that propelled Republicans to retake the Senate from Democrats. Yet, the unimaginable happened: Republicans never repealed Obamacare.  In fact, they hardly even tried.

Today, with little fanfare, McConnell’s Senate appropriators will advance a bill to fund the law they promised to repeal.  The start of that process began this morning when the Senate’s Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor and Health passed a spending bill that provided full funding for Obamacare. 

According to the Morning Consult:

Tuesday’s subcommittee vote will be the first time Senate Republicans have voted on a stand-alone appropriations bill that includes funds for the Affordable Care Act since their party took the majority. 

Though the committee failed to defund the health care law last year, they did make attempts to chip away at it. The committee included language blocking Obamacare risk corridors—a slush fund for insurance company bailouts—and blocked funds for state-based insurance exchanges, among others. 

Perhaps conservative voters should be embarrassed by falling for faux Republican campaign promises. Republican leadership tells one lie after another to the American public, and we Republicans continue to trust them.  When Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) attempted to defund Obamacare in 2013—resulting in a government shutdown—Republican leadership was suspiciously missing from the debate, and in fact, worked outright against the efforts.

Republican leadership tells one lie after another to the American public, and we Republicans continue to trust them.

Yet, we trusted their pledge of a full commitment to repeal Obamacare with a new Republican majority. 

Today, this Senate subcommittee will vote to fund Obamacare—but they’re already trying to play it down. “We will fund all the things we need to fund to try to keep it bipartisan,” a Senate aide claims. 

Let’s be clear about something: Republicans didn’t vote in a Republican Congress to capitulate on every campaign promise in the name of bipartisanship. 

The power of the purse belongs with Congress, and it is these spending bills that reflect Congress’ intentions. Would it be so terrible to send Obama a conservative bill for him to veto? Instead, Republicans have abandoned the sanctity of the constitutional power of the purse and allowed Obama a reprieve from ever having to un-holster his veto pen.

The question is about fighting for principles and campaign promises, and here, as I have said before, the Republican Party lacks the will to defend its base.  There is quantitative proof: Obama has vetoed only nine bills during his presidency, the lowest since the administration of President Warren Harding.  That number has gotten worse since Republicans took control of Congress. Since then, the president has only vetoed two real Republican bills.

Some may be holding out hope for a Republican president in 2017, after Obamacare becomes further embedded into the fabric of our society. Maybe that will work, maybe it won’t. But one thing is for certain: today’s vote proves that Republicans have abandoned the promise to repeal Obamacare.



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