Tagged: budget

Rep. Bob Gibbs won’t defund Obamacare

I sent my Congressman, Bob Gibbs (R-OH) an e-mail urging him to join Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and millions of other Americans in their effort to defund Obamacare when the next Continuing Resolution comes up.

Here was his e-mailed reply (the highlights are mine). The vast bulk of his response is the same old “Obamacare is bad and I oppose it” language every Republican says but on which they rarely follow through. The substance is in the lines I highlighted.

August 21, 2013

Dear Alo,

Thank you for contacting my office regarding defunding Obamacare. As your representative in Congress, I appreciate your input on this important issue.

As you know, the federal government is currently operating on a continuing resolution through September 30, 2013. Unless the 12 remaining appropriations bills or another continuing resolution (CR) is completed most government functions will cease to operate on October 1st. This has lead to calls from some Senators and Congressman to not take up a CR and allow the shutdown of the federal government to prevent the implementation of Obamacare.

Although it is common misconception there is no dedicated funding stream for Obamacare in a CR. CRs only address discretionary appropriations, not mandatory spending, which makes up the bulk of Obamacare spending. In fact a recent Congressional Research Service report determined a government shutdown would not stop Obamacare due to the large amount of discretion the Administration would have.

I want to be perfectly clear, I oppose Obamacare and I have supported every vote to defund, repeal and stop it. Furthermore, I have co-sponsored over thirty pieces of legislation to repeal the most devastating pieces including the Independent Payment Advisory Board and 1099 provision.

Once fully implemented, Obamacare will cost more than $2 trillion (more than double what was originally estimated), raise taxes by $1.1 trillion, cut Medicare by $716 billion, and add over $700 billion to the deficit. Every day we get closer to its implementation it’s becoming painstakingly clear to Americans how bad this law really is.

Recently, the architect of the bill, Senator Baucus, referred to the law as a train wreck and Health and Human Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius stated she did not anticipate how complicated implementing the president’s healthcare law would be. In light of news the IRS was deliberately targeting certain Americans can we really trust them to be in charge of our healthcare?

Even more telling was the Obama Administration quietly announcing they would delay enforcement of a major provision in Obamacare over the July 4th holiday. By delaying the employer mandate provision, which requires companies with over full time 50 employees to provide healthcare, the President has admitted his healthcare bill is unaffordable and crippling to small businesses. Unfortunately, we will be in the exact same position next year because this does nothing to fix the underlying problems with the law.

Obamacare is not controlling costs as promised. In fact, despite the President’s statement premiums would decrease by $2,500, the average family premium has grown over $3,000 and climbing since 2008. Over 30 studies have concluded the law will make health care premiums more unaffordable in 2014. The Ohio Department of Insurance estimates the average individual-market health insurance premium in 2014 will come in around $420, representing an increase of 88 percent from 2013.

Another promise the President made was if you like your insurance you can keep it. In reality, seven million Americans will lose their job-based health insurance and 30 percent of employers will definitely or likely drop coverage for their workers in 2014. That number increases as employers become more aware of the law.

Then Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) promised that Obamacare would create four million jobs, including 400,000 almost immediately. Yet according to a study by the National Federation of Independent Business, Obamacare could eliminate 1.6 million jobs by 2014 (66 percent of these loses could come from small businesses). These losses are due to the 21 new or higher taxes and regulations contained in Obamacare that will further harm our economy. Even worse the study doesn’t factor in employees whose hours are being reduced in order to comply with these new regulations.

Currently, over 20,000 pages regulations have already been issued or about eight times the length of the original bill. The grim reality is there are hundreds of more regulations to come and no one knows what they will be. Our job creators are citing these unknowns as reasons for planned layoffs and why they cannot expand their business and hire new employees. A recent Gallup Poll of small businesses found 41 percent have frozen any new hires and 19 percent have reduced their workforce due to Obamacare.

While we must lower healthcare costs, Obamacare is not the answer. The President’s flawed healthcare plan does nothing to address rising healthcare costs while adding trillions of dollars in new government spending we cannot afford. Ohioans have overwhelmingly made it very clear that this government takeover of the health care system is not what they had in mind. That is why I voted 40 times to repeal or defund all or part of this harmful legislation since I have been in Congress.

I will continue to fight to repeal this job-killing law and find common ground for competition-driven reforms backed by a majority of Americans that will actually lower healthcare costs and make it more affordable for those who choose to purchase insurance coverage. However, with a federal government shutdown our military members would not receive their pay and certain beneficiaries would experience delays in the processing and payment of their social security benefits. That is just not an acceptable option.

Again, thank you for contacting my office. Please continue to keep me informed on the issues that are important to you. For more information on my work in Congress, or to sign up to receive my e-newsletter, please visit my website at: http://gibbs.house.gov.

Sincerely,

Bob Gibbs
Member of Congress

Unacceptable.

I’ll post a rebuttal of each highlighted claim, but since he’s on the record now, the voters of Ohio’s 7th District deserve to know where he stands.

The do-nothing Senate

The House of Representatives (242 Republicans, 192 Democrats) has passed a budget every year and sent it to the Senate. The Senate (53 Democrats, 47 Republicans) has refused to pass a budget for 1,057 days and counting. Passing a budget in the Senate requires 51 votes.  Remind me again: which one is the do-nothing party?

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) sure is a useful tool.

Obama and Reid

But hey, to hear our own Sherrod Brown (D-OH) tell it, passing a budget isn’t all that meaningful.

The Obama budget

This chart comes from the White House (check page 58 of the monster PDF file), not from some crazy right wing extremist oppressor of downtrodden poor people and kicker of puppies.

Obama's 2013 budget

This is the Obama Administration’s current plan, in a document never intended to actually be passed.  It’s published strictly for election propaganda (“Look!  It’s a do-nothing Congress!!!”), so it’s a very mild version of what they actually want.  They tout this as responsible stewardship of your money.  Imagine what they’ll actually spend when the election’s over, and they have four years of freedom to enact their agenda without worrying about re-election.

Are you sure you want to gamble on this bunch of geniuses again?  Their record is eye-opening.

A Balanced Budget Amendment with teeth

Unlike the farce that went down to defeat today, this Balanced Budget Amendment would work.

Amendment _____

Section 1. The government of the United States shall not spend more in any fiscal year than it collects in that fiscal year, and it shall include all its discretionary and mandatory expenditures during that fiscal year when calculating its spending.

Section 2. The government of the United States shall not spend more in any fiscal year than eighteen percent of the Gross Domestic Product of the United States for that fiscal year. Gross Domestic Product means the sum of private consumption, gross investment, and total exports, from which sum is subtracted total imports. No government spending of any kind shall be considered when calculating Gross Domestic Product.

Section 3. For any fiscal year in which the government of the United States spends seventeen percent or less of Gross Domestic Product, the President and each member of Congress shall receive a bonus payment that shall be exempt from all taxation. This bonus shall equal one half of the recipient’s annual base salary for each whole percentage point less than eighteen percent of Gross Domestic Product spent by the government of the United States.

Section 4. The government of the United States may exceed the spending limit in Section 2 only during a period of declared war in which the Armed Forces of the United States are engaged in actual armed hostilities against the armed forces of the nation against which the war was declared. Such excess spending shall only be used to directly fund the operations of the Armed Forces of the United States, must be approved by a three fifths vote of each chamber of Congress, must be reauthorized annually in the same manner, and must end no later than six months after the conclusion of hostilities.

Section 5. The text of this Amendment shall be interpreted to mean what a rational and reasonable reader on the date of its ratification would have objectively understood it to mean.

Section 6. This Amendment shall take effect three calendar years from the date of its ratification.

Section 1 does away with the accounting tricks used by Washington politicians to keep entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security off the books.

Section 2 sets the spending limit at 18% for a very good reason, and also prohibits Washington from including its own spending in the data for economic activity (since government spending cannot create wealth; it can only redistribute it).

Section 3 harnesses humanity’s inherent self-centeredness to serve society by providing juicy incentives to our politicians. For example, if Congress and the President pass a balanced budget that spends only 15% of GDP, each politico gets a bonus check for one-and-a-half times their base salary, completely tax free, and we get to keep more of our own money.

Section 4 prevents this Amendment from forcing the American people into an unintended suicide pact, but also prevents politicians from playing games with so-called “emergency appropriations” that slither around the rules. There’s a sunset clause that forces Congress and the President to re-authorize any emergency wartime spending every year, which will keep them operating out in the open and subject to public scrutiny.

Section 5 forces lawyers, politicians, judges, and special interest groups to stick to the common understanding of the Amendment as understood by today’s Joe Average. No “emanating penumbras,” “evolving standards,” “defining one’s own concept of meaning,” or “flexible legislative intent” loopholes allowed. This is not a “living document.”

Section 6 provides enough time to prepare for the new budgeting process by guaranteeing that at least one Congressional election will take place between ratification and enforcement, plus a cushion for the “new kids” to get settled and involved in the budget process.

Have I missed a loophole somewhere? Let me know if you think you’ve spotted one. Lord knows, we can’t survive much more of this:

suicide spender

Washington, get these folks some help

How can our Border Patrol agents secure our increasingly violent frontiers with less funding? They sure can’t look to the Army or Marine Corps for help.
Well, at least we can be happy that Congressman Chris Cannon’s no longer on the House Subcommittee on Immigration, so that’s one less open borders fan gumming up the works. And there’s always public support for border enforcement … just ask the University of North Texas students who created “Capture An Illegal Immigrant Day” (are you following all this, Matt?).