Lee rightly observes that conservatives aren't exactly threatening to shut down the government, nor do they want to. Their goal is to fully fund the government -- prioritizing key line items like paying the troops, sending out Social Security checks and servicing the debt -- while simply omitting the parcel of spending devoted to Obamacare. If Harry Reid and Barack Obama refuse to go along with this plan, these Senators argue, it would be Democrats who'd force any potential shutdown. After the floor exchange concluded, conservative Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma offered an extended rebuttal, applauding his colleagues for their passion in resisting a fatally flawed law, but questioning the efficacy of their game plan. Coburn, a medical doctor and fiscal hawk, notes that he's combated Obamacare ever since it was introduced in 2009. He also reminds Cruz & Co. that he's voted against every recent CR because he opposes them in principle, believing them to be an irresponsible form of piecemeal governance. But he submits that risking a shutdown showdown over a fraction of Obamacare funding (much of which falls in the "mandatory spending" category, and would be unaffected anyway) is misguided and counter-productive:
Taken together, all of these polls suggest that an effort that is framed as defunding Obamacare is likely a political loser, while efforts to delay two of Obamacare’s most central and least popular provisions—its individual mandate and its fraud-friendly exchanges—would likely be embraced by all but the far left of the political spectrum. If congressional Republicans decide to make approval of a continuing resolution or a debt-limit increase contingent upon anything relating to Obamacare, delay of these two central elements would seem to offer the best chance for rallying public support.
Black has just unveiled the No Subsidies Without Verification Act, or H.R. 2775, which does just what I suggested. “By not verifying eligibility for Obamacare, the administration will ensure that the government hands out billions of dollars in fraudulent payments – racking up more debt for current and future generations,” Black said in a statement. “It is simply indefensible for the administration to misuse its power and authority under the executive branch to encourage fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars in a pathetic attempt to boost enrollment in the Obamacare health insurance exchanges.” As I argued previously, Republicans should consider tying this to the fall budget battle. Adopting this measure would effectively stop Obamacare in its tracks, because HHS has already explained that, “the service described in the proposed rule is not feasible for implementation for the first year of operations.” And if Democrats refuse to accept this idea — most likely — let them squirm to explain to the American people why they’re willing to shut down the government to prevent the implementation of anti-fraud measures they once deemed necessary to make sure hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies are getting to the right people.
NYT: People questioned your legal and constitutional authority to do that unilaterally — to delay the employer mandate. Did you consult with your lawyer?
MR. OBAMA: Jackie, if you heard me on stage today, what I said was that I will seize any opportunity I can find to work with Congress to strengthen the middle class, improve their prospects, improve their security –
NYT: No, but specifically –
MR. OBAMA: — but where Congress is unwilling to act, I will take whatever administrative steps that I can in order to do right by the American people. And if Congress thinks that what I’ve done is inappropriate or wrong in some fashion, they’re free to make that case. But there’s not an action that I take that you don’t have some folks in Congress who say that I’m usurping my authority. Some of those folks think I usurp my authority by having the gall to win the presidency. And I don’t think that’s a secret. But ultimately, I’m not concerned about their opinions — very few of them, by the way, are lawyers, much less constitutional lawyers...I’m not just going to sit back if the only message from some of these folks is no on everything, and sit around and twiddle my thumbs for the next 1,200 days.
Poll: 80 percent of Independents and two thirds of Democrats favor delay/repeal of individual mandate. http://t.co/RIDT14Gxop— Ben Domenech (@bdomenech) July 31, 2013
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography
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