By Caroline Howle –
Having gained momentum and publicity over the five-week August recess, the effort to defund ObamaCare took center stage once again on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol on September 10 and AMAC was there. A slew of Tea Party big-wigs rallied with several hundred anti-ObamaCare spectators for the “Exempt America from ObamaCare” event, blasting the deeply flawed law and its presidential architect. With the health insurance exchanges set to open in a little less than three weeks, time for the GOP to take action to strip funding for ObamaCare is quickly running out.
This rally – sponsored by a number of conservative groups – echoed the anti-ObamaCare sentiments of many Americans, who passionately conveyed their expectations to see the cumbersome law defunded to members of Congress over the recess break. In fact, opposition to ObamaCare has only continued to climb as implementation of the law draws nearer. According to a new CNN/ORC International poll, 57 percent of those surveyed oppose ObamaCare – a troubling statistic for the White House, still several months away from the complete overhaul of the U.S. health care system.
Contributing to the public’s frustration with the law is the string of decisions by the Obama administration to delay – or refuse to enforce – critical components of their own pride and joy. For instance, it was announced in July that implementation of the employer mandate – a provision in the law that requires businesses with 50 employees or more to provide health care to workers – would be delayed for one year to give employers more time to comply with the law’s reporting requirements. Despite letting big business off the hook, the American people were not offered the same relief. Instead, the individual mandate remains in effect and requires most Americans to purchase health insurance, or pay a fine – starting in January 2014.
Speaking to protestors at the rally, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) incited a roar from the crowd when he said, “Rather than the delays, we should delay the whole thing permanently – and come up with a new commonsense solution” to the problems facing the American health care system. Laying out the current situation for those at the rally, Cruz put it this way: “Pay for a law already too broken to fix or pay a penalty that not even fortune 500 companies” will be forced to shell out. The fact remains, “[the president] does not have the authority to change the law.”
These types of damning statements spewed from the mouths of speaker after speaker, amid chants to “defund it!” Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) took the stage to reassure onlookers that the effort to defund ObamaCare “isn’t about shutting down the government” – an issue that has clearly divided the Republican Party. Introducing a bill that promises to keep the government up and running while stripping funding for ObamaCare, Rep. Graves and 42 of his conservative colleagues hope to kill ObamaCare once and for all.
Still, the road ahead won’t be easy for conservatives wanting to see ObamaCare defunded. The Democratic-controlled Senate isn’t likely to take action against the president’s signature legislative achievement. Regardless, many conservatives in Congress stand ready to make their Democratic colleagues pay the ultimate political price for supporting this deeply flawed, job-killing law. Quoting conservative icon Ronald Reagan, Rep. Mark Meadows said, “If you can’t make them see the light – make sure they feel the heat.”