Speaking “on the condition of anonymity,” a Republican lawmaker told one Capitol Hill newspaper last week that conservatives pushing to stop the implementation of Obamacare had “no plan B.”
Before diving into the substance of the criticism, let’s spend a minute on how that criticism was delivered. Folks in Washington love speaking “on the condition of anonymity.” In a meandering profile of NBC News’s Luke Russert, a reporter for the liberal New Republic wrote, “Fellow reporters related the meanest anecdotes they could think of—‘but not for attribution, OK?’”
For one reason or another, these reporters have decided criticizing Russert wasn’t a savvy career move. From that perspective, you can understand why this GOP lawmaker would not want to publicly denounce a strategy that has the support of folks like Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL). You can imagine this lawmaker running into trouble back home after saying Cruz, Lee, Heritage Action and the others have “a laudable goal,” but I ain’t gonna help them fight.
If Republican lawmakers are not willing to fight the implementation of Obamacare by actively defunding the law, they must have another plan to stop it, right? I posed variations of this question to numerous folks over the past week and the answer was nearly unanimous: stunning silence.
Yesterday, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) cautioned against “swinging for fences” and offered “there are more effective ways…we think that we can do better by delaying this law.”
Delay. Defund. Repeal. Halt. Block. Stop.
Absent a legislative strategy, those are just words. In a must read piece, Heritage Action’s Russ Vought explained the political strategy:
“It is wonderful that Congressmen support repealing Obamacare, but it’s not enough. The House has had numerous votes to repeal Obamacare, but the chances of statutorily repealing the law decreased once President Obama won a second term. Conservatives cannot wait another three-and-a-half years to begin dismantling Obamacare; they need to leverage current opportunities to defund Obamacare on ‘must-pass’ spending bills.”
He also explained, contrary to the assertions of many people who should know better, the implementation of Obamacare could be stopped on a spending bill: