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Congress should defund Obamacare

By: The Gazette editorial
July 25, 2013 Updated: July 25, 2013 at 4:25 pm
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Laws can't do much harm or good unless they are funded. As such, Republicans in Congress have a golden opportunity if only they are willing to take it. They have the option to starve Obamacare by cutting off the money. The Constitution gives Congress the power of the purse, and a president has no veto power over appropriations the legislative branch refuses to grant.

Most Americans don't want the Affordable Care Act, which was supposed to make health care more affordable and accessible and has only done the opposite as the scheduled January 2014 full-implementation date has approached. Obamacare has led employers throughout the country to reduce full-time workers to part-time schedules in order to avoid health care mandates they cannot afford. The looming launch of Obamacare has been such a disaster the White House unilaterally altered the law in order to give businesses another year before they participate. While a yearlong reprieve may help corporate America and Main Street, individuals and families will be saddled with this boondoggle in less than six months.

Even union leaders - powerful men and women who once advocated this law - are turning on it. Growing numbers of Democrats are beginning to back away, despite loyalty to a president they worked hard to elect.

The Supreme Court allowed this unconstitutional law to stand only by characterizing an illegal mandate, which tells Americans they must buy that which they may not want, as a "tax."

Perhaps nothing would give our country's economy a greater jump-start than a move to stop Obamacare in its tracks.

The Republican-controlled House of Representative has voted nearly 40 times to repeal Obamacare. The repeals are little more than symbolic gestures, given the Democratic majority in the Senate and Obama's control of the veto pen. But there's an obvious lesson in the repeal attempts. Just as the House needs Senate cooperation to repeal Obamacare, the Senate needs House cooperation to appropriate funds.

To begin Obamacare, the government plans to spend $48 billion in 2014 and $1.8 trillion through 2023.

Additionally, the mandate will take substantial funding to manage and enforce. The Obama administration wants more than $400 million so that about 2,000 new IRS bureaucrats can force Americans to buy health care and to enforce nearly 50 additional statutory provisions that are essential to the law's implementation.

Don't appropriate these and other Obamacare funds. It's really that simple.

The idea has started catching on among politicians in both chambers of Congress. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, plans to go public with a letter Thursday, signed by himself and multiple colleagues, promising to oppose the next continuing resolution - the bill that funds government - if it funds Obamacare. In other words, Senate Republicans are threatening to shut down government when the current resolution expires Sept. 30 if Obamacare is to get money. He and other Republicans may get cooperation from enough Democrats to give the threat teeth. They'll probably get support from their Republican colleagues who control the House, which originates continuing resolutions.

A draft of the letter, as reported by ABC News, criticizes the White House for delaying Obamacare participation for businesses.

"If the administration will not enforce the law as written, then the American people should not be forced to fund it," the letter states. "The president cannot seriously expect to waive Obamacare's onerous mandates on large businesses, while simultaneously forcing individuals and families to pay to implement an individual mandate the public has opposed since before the law was even passed."

We urge the Colorado delegation and all other members of Congress to support this growing effort to defund Obamacare and allow our economy to make a more inclusive and speedier recovery.

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