Republican leaders in the House have squished out again.
It is also a sign that the American people who voted to repeal Obamacare may not get what they wanted. The citizenry voted for repeal, yet establishment Republicans may give them a “repeal and replace” that will resemble Obamacare.
Here is how the Obama White House described the bill in a press release issued on November 30, 2016:
If this is such a great bill, why wouldn’t Republicans wait a month and let President Donald Trump help craft a conservative version of this bill, rather than build up the Obama legacy? Because many Republicans agree with liberal Democrats that we need billion-dollar a new spending bill on health care without even attempting to cut waste, fraud, and abuse elsewhere to pay for it all.
Common sense dictates that it is a noble goal to fight opioid abuse, cure cancer, and tackle Alzheimer’s. Then why would the leading conservatives in the House and Heritage Action for America oppose the bill? Because it sucks.
Congress has so many priorities and great-sounding programs that it wants to fund with your tax dollars, yet they flat out refuse to pay for this new funding by cutting other spending. The national debt is approaching a staggering $20 trillion, yet Republicans — supposedly the party of fiscal responsibility — is pushing a bill that will pile further mountains of debt on future generations.
According to Heritage Action for America, the original version of the bill considered earlier this year was a bad bill:
When the bill was considered by the House this past week, Republican had loaded it up with additional Obama administration requested spending that hiked the cost of the bill to $6.3 billion. Heritage argued that “In Washington terms, backroom negotiators have turned the Cures bill into a Christmas Tree, loaded with handouts for special interests, all at the expense of the taxpayer.” Special interest spending is bad enough, yet the spending is not the most offensive aspect of the consideration of this legislation.
That dubious honor goes to what Congress erroneously calls “offsets” — i.e., spending cuts. But let’s be clear: This new spending is not offset with real cuts — the offsets are garbage.
Congress has so many priorities and great-sounding programs that it wants to fund with your tax dollars, yet they flat out refuse to pay for this new funding by cutting other spending.
Again, per Heritage Action:
Another accounting gimmick made to look like a “savings” is a sale and drawdown of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). This is a favorite cash cow because it based on fuzzy math and accounting trickery. Without getting into too much detail, the SPR is an excess of oil and gas that the U.S. government sets aside to be available in a time of need.
So a health care bill loaded with a special interest provision and zero spending offsets garner the support of the establishment Republican leadership and a bulk of the Republican caucus. This should make conservatives very afraid that the weak-kneed House and Senate Republicans don’t have the stomach for a flat out repeal of Obamacare — with no replace bill.
The final vote tally in the Cures Act was 392-26. Twenty of the “Nay” votes were Republicans, including the rock star libertarian and conservatives comprising the House Freedom Caucus: Reps. Justin Amash, R-Mich. (A, 96%), Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla. (A, 97%), Ken Buck, R-Colo. (A, 93%), Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan. (A, 92%), Jim Jordan, R-Ohio (A, 94%), Raul Labrador, R-Idaho (A, 93%), Thomas Massie, R-Ky. (A, 94%) and Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C. (A, 94%). Three cheers to all the members who voted no!
This bill should be an early warning sign that establishment Republicans may be too meek to repeal Obamacare without a squishy bill to replace Obamacare ready to pass. And the replacement will inevitably be loaded up with Obamacare-lite proposals that will retain some of the core elements of President Obama’s signature health care law.
Conservatives should be very afraid.
- Why job-based health insurance is terrible for Americans' health and wallets
- Repealing Obamacare and stopping Sharia immigration are the hills to die on – The Conservative Conscience Ep74
Brian Darling is a former staffer for Sen. Rand Paul. Follow him on Twitter @BrianHDarling.