By: Tom Howell Jr.-The Washington Times
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Senate Republicans put themselves on track to pass a long-sought bill this week to dismantle Obamacare and strip funding from Planned Parenthood for one year, finalizing a measure Tuesday that will put a major repeal of the Affordable Care Act on President Obama’s desk for the first time. Mr. Obama is sure to veto the bill, but just getting it to his desk will be a victory for Republicans, who have repeatedly run into Democratic filibusters in the Senate.
The repeal bill is part of a flurry of year-end activity as Congress tries to clear the decks. Still to come are votes on a $281 billion highway funding deal, a bill to rewrite the No Child Left Behind education law and a spending bill to fund the government in fiscal year 2016. Also on the to-do list is approval of certain tax breaks known as “extenders” and the renewal of health care programs for workers who responded to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
The Senate could vote on repealing Obamacare as early as Thursday. Republican leaders introduced language Tuesday that overcomes some procedural hiccups and papers over internal feuds. With those hurdles behind them, Republican leaders say they are confident they can muster the 51 votes needed to pass the bill under fast-track budget rules. It will go back to the House for final approval before heading to Mr. Obama — the first repeal to make it to the president’s desk.
“Something’s got to give,” said Sen. John Thune, South Dakota Republican. “We need a better approach.” With so much to do, Democrats fumed over Republican efforts to gut Obamacare and to defund Planned Parenthood in retaliation for videos that showed organization officials haggling over fees for body parts from aborted fetuses.
The practice is legal as long as it’s not for profit, though Planned Parenthood has since said it will no longer accept even the handling fees that were being negotiated. Republicans have said the organization should forfeit the approximately $500 million a year it takes in taxpayer funding. Democrats said the debate over stripping funding from Planned Parenthood was particularly ill-timed after a gunman killed three people at one of the organization’s clinics in Colorado last week.
RINOTRACKER RESPONSE FROM CHRIS ADAMO:
Amid all the fanfare and Republican “victory laps” accompanying this bill, its real significance (for those willing to read between the lines) is that the GOP remains dedicated to its strategy of capitulation to Barack Obama, while it increases its efforts to deliver meaningless platitudes to the conservative base. It is entirely conceivable that this latest charade was actually arranged in concert with the Obama administration, so as to put a better face on the “Republican” Congress and Senate, in order to preserve the status quo.
Grassroots conservatives are thoroughly disillusioned with congressional Republicans on account of their continual capitulations to the Democrats. As a consequence, some members of the GOP caucus could face primary challengers next year, possibly to be replaced by real conservatives. And that’s a prospect neither Obama nor the GOP “Establishment” would relish.
A more accurate characterization of current posturing comes from Senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz (R.-TX), who loudly decries such action as “show votes,” which are ultimately meaningless, and only undertaken to allow room for duplicitous career politicians to “grandstand” in front of gullible constituents. As such, this vote epitomizes precisely that sort of contempt which Senators of both parties hold towards “We the People.”
It may sound appealing to the nonobservant that Senate Majority “Leader” Mitch McConnell (R.-KY) appears to be working to remove the scourge of Obamacare from American life. Furthermore, in keeping with his sterling pro-life voting record (at least that’s how he represents himself when not involved in shady back-room deals with the Democrats), McConnell supports language in this measure to ostensibly defund Planned Parenthood. All of this looks really good to the casual pro-life voter, especially in the wake of revelations of Planned Parenthood’s hideous practice of dissecting live unborn children and selling off their organs on a gruesome black market.
Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is extremely ugly and a diametric opposite of how it being portrayed on Capitol Hill and even in some “conservative” media. McConnell had a genuine opportunity, only a few months back, to put forth budgetary legislation that would actually portend a repeal of Obamacare and defunding of Planned Parenthood. Yet on that occasion, he completely surrendered to the Democrats and Obama, even prior to any open confrontation. McConnell went so far as to invoke underhanded parliamentary gymnastics that thwarted conservative efforts to bring the issue to a head.
Similarly in the House, departing Speaker John Boehner (R.-OH) betrayed conservatives and ram-rodded a two year budget through that body, painting up his treachery in the most noble of terms, as a “clean slate” for incoming speaker Paul Ryan (R.-WI). Either legislative house could have drawn a line in the sand, challenging Obama to actually shut the government down in his perverse devotion to Planned Parenthood and Obamacare. Yet Obama was completely spared this prospect as a result of RINO willingness to aid and abet his leftist agenda.
Obama’s despicable hard-left ideology is thoroughly mirrored by Hillary Clinton and the other Democrat presidential candidates. And while all of this should be made front and center in the 2016 election cycle, those “Republicans” in the Congress who have facilitated Obama’s assault on traditional America cannot be given a “pass.” Obama has endeavored to create the current mess in which America finds itself. But although Obama made it happen, “Establishment” Republicans are equally guilty of letting it happen.
Far from being any “badge of honor” for McConnell, this latest ruse is further evidence that the betrayal of conservatism by “Ruling Class” Republicans inside the Beltway continues unabated.
E-mail Christopher G. Adamo at: email@example.com