The Obamacare disaster is coming. Sure, the president is delaying or dismissing parts of it because they’ve proved either unmanageable or unworkable in the legally allotted time to set them up, but the most invasive and damaging aspects are still coming. But there is a chance to stop them in their tracks, IF Republicans have the courage to do it.
That “IF” is in caps because if there’s one thing Republicans haven’t been showing much of in the last decade it’s courage. When they controlled government completely under President Bush, they acted like Big Government liberals. When liberals took over government completely in 2009, Republican leadership found their spine…at least rhetorically.
But since 2011, when Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives, Republican leadership had some teeth to act on those words, they seem to have turned vegetarian.
Thankfully, with that new Congressional class of 2011, there came new members of Congress who refused to check their spine at the beltway. These members aren’t interested in the “go along to get along” t-shirt sloganeering that permeates D.C.’s “now that I’ve been elected I must do everything I can to get reelected” permanent political class and are willing to risk everything to do what’s right.
One of them, Utah Senator Mike Lee, has never been a “go along to get along” guy. Never elected to anything before winning a bid for the Senate in 2010, Lee came to Washington without baggage. He had no long-standing relationships with lobbyists or fundraisers, no chits to repay. He was just a man who’d had enough.
After defeating an incumbent Republican in a primary, his election was pretty well assured as a Republican in Utah. That freed Lee from glad-handing and promise making during a contentious general election and allows him now to stand on that all too rare commodity on Washington—principle.
Lee sees the Obamacare train wreck barreling down the tracks, as do all members of Congress, but he’s not only free to talk about it, he’s willing to talk about it. And, more importantly, he’s willing to do something about it.
The federal government hasn’t passed a new budget in more than three years. In the absence of a budget, it has been operating on what is called a “continuing resolution,” occasional votes to keep funding government on a temporary basis, usually months at a time.
Republican leadership could use this to demand much needed reforms, spending cuts and/or any number of important changes in the way the federal government does what it does. But the extent to which they’ve used this, the most powerful arrow in their quiver, has been limited and embarrassingly ineffective. Lee has had enough.