What a lot of people have missed about the defund Obamacare strategy promoted by Ted Cruz and Mike Lee is that we can actually accomplish a lot even if we don’t manage to defund Obamacare. For example, after the Democrats go on record as supporting Obamacare, here’s what the House Republicans are talking about doing next, according to Politico:
The House Republican leadership is seriously considering attaching a one-year delay of Obamacare’s individual mandate to the Senate bill to avert a government shutdown, according to senior GOP aides.
If House Republicans decide to go this route, it would all but provoke a government shutdown, since Senate Democrats might not even schedule a vote on a bill that includes that provision, Senate leadership staffers say. Even if the Senate schedules a vote, there might not be time to move the legislation through the slow-moving chamber.
…Boehner and his leadership team have been preparing options to present to House Republicans when they return on Wednesday from a brief recess. The process, leadership aides say, will be driven by members of the House Republican Conference. Their first closed party meeting is Thursday.
Several different tactics are under discussion within the top levels of House GOP leadership, and the path Republicans choose depends on several factors — chiefly the mood of rank-and-file Republicans when they return to Washington, and when the House gets the continuing resolution back from the Senate.
House Republicans see tremendous upside in attempting to delay the individual mandate. First, they think it is easy to communicate the policy to voters. President Barack Obama has already delayed the employer mandate — the provision in the health care bill that requires businesses with more than 50 employees to provide health care for their workers. House Republicans ask: Why not institute that same delay for individuals?
Delaying the individual mandate also poses a difficult political problem for some House Democrats, especially those from red states. In July, when similar legislation came up in the House, 22 Democrats voted with 229 Republicans to pass the bill. One Republican voted against that bill: Rep. Morgan Griffith of Virginia.
Of course, the political fallout of a shutdown is scary business for House Republicans. Boehner has privately warned his fellow leaders that a government shutdown is perilous for Republicans. Most Americans who disapprove of the health care law think its unwise to shut down the government to stop Obamacare’s implementation.
There are other legislative add-ons under consideration by House GOP leaders, as well. There has been discussion by House Republicans of attaching the so-called conscience clause to the CR — language that would allow employers to ignore a federal requirement that they cover birth control as part of their health insurance packages.
House Republicans are also considering including language that would prevent the federal government from making the employer contribution for the health care of members of Congress and their staff. This would add thousands of dollars to the insurance tab of Capitol Hill staffers and lawmakers.
That last option is the best one. Imagine Harry Reid shutting the government down rather than be forced to live under the same health care law they forced on the American people. As an extra added bonus, they should demand that the IRS be covered by Obamacare, too.
Despite all the complaining and kvetching, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee have handed the Republican Party a gift. Republicans just have to be smart enough to make full use of it.