By Rep. Steve King (R-IA)
As one of the first acts of this 112th Congress, the House is due to pass language I introduced to repeal Obamacare: “as if such Act had not been enacted.”
This legislation would validate the strategy for repeal that I have been advancing since the day the law was signed. It will also set the stage for the next component of my repeal strategy: the inclusion of language in every appropriations bill to prevent federal funds from being used to implement or enforce any of Obamacare’s provisions.
When Obamacare passed last March, I immediately introduced a bill to repeal this unconstitutional law. My bill offered a “clean” repeal — not weighed down by any replacement language.
I knew that repeal supporters would need strength in numbers to succeed. I saw no merit in adopting a strategy that would be diminished by disagreements over specific aspects of replacement policy and, therefore, artificially reduce our totals.
Last summer, I began working on the second phase of my repeal strategy. I began gathering signatures on a discharge petition — to force a vote on my repeal bill. Not only did the discharge petition exceed expectations by attracting a bipartisan group of 173 signatures, but every member of the House Republican leadership signed it.
With such strong support, it was clear that my strategy was working. It also set the stage for the inclusion of my repeal language in H.R. 2, the repeal legislation that the leadership brought to the floor and that the House is set to pass.
America’s voters sent Republicans a mandate for repeal in November, and I have long argued that we have an obligation to keep faith with them by taking swift action to fulfill our campaign promises. Holding a repeal vote at the outset of the new Congress eliminates doubts as to our commitment. It also reflects my frequently expressed belief that repealing Obamacare should be Congress’s top priority.
Now, I look forward to working with my colleagues on the next part of my Obamacare repeal strategy: attaching language to block funding for its implementation and enforcement onto every appropriations bill or continuing resolution from this point forward.
The continuing resolution that extended funding for the federal government until Mar. 4 gives us an opportunity to include language in the appropriations that fund the rest of this fiscal year — and must be passed to avoid a government shutdown. The language would prohibit any funds from being used to implement or enforce Obamacare.
Those who support the government take-over of health care say that the House vote is only symbolic. But in every strategy to repeal Obamacare, success cannot be envisioned without the House first voting on it. It is far more than symbolic. It is the foundation of the repeal strategy.
This is necessary because Obamacare’s repeal depends on more than a House vote alone. The law remains on the books until the repeal is passed by the Senate and signed by the president.
I believe the votes exist to pass a repeal in the Senate, but that the current vote total is not sufficient to override President Barack Obama’s veto. I also believe that if he chooses to veto a repeal bill, the president will not be elected to a second term.
We are nearly two years away from what I predict will be a Republican take-over of the Senate and the election of a successor to Obama — who will have campaigned on the final repeal of Obamacare.
Until then, our tactic must be to pass a funding ban on implementing and enforcing Obamacare. This would immediately suspend the president’s effort to infuse his crippling policies into our lives and provide a “de facto” near-term repeal.
Enacting a funding ban will leave repeal supporters in the strongest position to continue our efforts in a manner that the president may well have difficulty blocking.
Will the president initiate a government shutdown by vetoing appropriations bills to preserve this unpopular law bearing his name? That’s his call.
Americans understand that a House that is truly interested in opposing Obamacare with every tool at its disposal would not hesitate to block the law’s funding. Placing language in every appropriations bill prevents the law from spreading its roots into American life. It also gives House Republicans the opportunity to show we are keeping faith with our repeal promises.
It is a strategy that should be implemented immediately.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) serves on the House Judiciary, Small Business and Agriculture Committees.
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