Never before in history has a political party tried so hard to sabotage a law that was passed by Congress, signed by the President, and upheld by the Supreme Court. Republicans have passed little important legislation since taking over the House in 2011, but [link]they've voted 38 times to repeal or defund ObamaCare,http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/17/obamacare-votes_n_3612106.html[/link], despite the futility of those votes. They know quite well that the Senate will not go along with any such bill, and the President will veto it. But they've felt the need to pander to their base, and more importantly, they're terrified that ObamaCare is going to be a success. It won't solve the healthcare crisis in this great land of ours, but there will be millions more insured (there already are) and insurance premiums will be a fraction of what they are now. This has proved to be true in [link]California,http://money.cnn.com/2013/05/23/news/economy/california-obamacare-premiums/index.html?iid=EL[/link] and [link]New York,http://money.cnn.com/2013/07/17/news/economy/obamacare-health-insurance-new-york/index.html[/link] already.
As noted by Norm Ornstein in the Atlantic, this latest effort to derail ObamaCare is [link]nothing less than contemptible,http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/07/the-unprecedented-contemptible-gop-quest-to-sabotage-obamacare/278098/[/link]; "sharply beneath any reasonable standards of elected officials with the fiduciary responsibility of governing":
The clear comparison is the Medicare prescription-drug plan. When it passed Congress in 2003, Democrats had many reasons to be furious. The initial partnership between President Bush and Senator Edward Kennedy had resulted in an admirably bipartisan bill -- it passed the Senate with 74 votes. Republicans then pulled a bait and switch, taking out all of the provisions that Kennedy had put in to bring along Senate Democrats, jamming the resulting bill through the House in a three-hour late-night vote marathon that blatantly violated House rules and included something close to outright bribery on the House floor, and then passing the bill through the Senate with just 54 votes -- while along the way excluding the duly elected conferees, Tom Daschle (the Democratic leader!) and Jay Rockefeller, from the conference-committee deliberations.
The implementation of that bill was a huge challenge, and had many rocky moments. It required educating millions of seniors, most not computer-literate, about the often complicated choices they had to create or change their prescription coverage. Imagine if Democrats had gone all out to block or disrupt the implementation -- using filibusters to deny funding, sending threatening letters to companies or outside interests who mobilized to educate Medicare recipients, putting on major campaigns to convince seniors that this was a plot to deny them Medicare, comparing it to the ill-fated Medicare reform plan that passed in 1989 and, after a revolt by seniors, was repealed the next year.
Almost certainly, Democrats could have tarnished one of George W. Bush's signature achievements, causing Republicans major heartburn in the 2004 presidential and congressional elections -- and in the process hurting millions of Medicare recipients and their families. Instead, Democrats worked with Republicans, and with Mark McClellan, the Bush Administration official in charge of implementation, to smooth out the process and make it work -- and it has been a smashing success.
But the bomb-throwers are not to be reached by rational argument.
President Obama chided the GOP’s aggressive efforts to derail his signature piece of legislation during an economic speech on Wednesday. “If you think you have a better plan for making sure every American family has the security of quality, affordable health care, stop making meaningless repeal votes and share your concrete ideas with the country,” [link]Obama said,http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/07/25/gop-senators-threaten-government-shutdown-to-derail-obamacare/[/link].
In contrast to this reprehensible behavior, even some in the Republican party are sharply criticizing this latest in the series of Republican attempts to damage the American economy that we've witnessed ever since President Obama took office. Senator McCain said "most Americans are tired of these types of shenanigans". Rep. Tom Cole (R. Okla.) said this latest threat is a "temper tantrum" that is "not helpful" toward repeal of ObamaCare.
In fact, the latest story in Politico about ObamaCare is that there's "[link]a brewing Republican versus Republican fight,http://www.politico.com/story/2013/07/gop-feuds-obamacare-tactics-94774.html[/link]" over the threat to shut down the federal government.
On Thursday, the dispute began to spill into public view, most notably when three Senate Republicans — including Minority Whip John Cornyn — withdrew their signatures from a conservative letter demanding defunding Obamacare as a condition for supporting the government funding measure.
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) called the push to defund the law through the continuing resolution the “dumbest idea” he had ever heard.
“Defunding the Affordable Care Act is not achievable by shutting down the federal government,” Burr said. “At some point, you’re going to open the federal government back up, and Barack Obama is going to be president.”
Since Richard Burr took office in '09, he hasn't been a high-profile senator, or become one of the bomb-throwers. But this is the first time he's said anything that made me halfway proud he's representing me in the United States Senate.