According to news reports, Congress is waving the white flag in what appears as a proposal of nearly complete surrender. First, lawmakers would give up on using Congress’s constitutional power of the purse to stop Obamacare. Second, they would give in to liberals’ demands for increased spending on wasteful and inappropriate discretionary programs.
According to The Washington Post:
Republicans have also offered to reopen the government as soon as next week in a bill that would replace some of the deep budget cuts known as the sequester with cuts to entitlement programs, including Medicare, according to people familiar with the proposal who spoke on condition of anonymity. Replacing the sequester is a top Democratic priority, while cutting entitlement programs is a leading GOP priority. But details of the proposals were murky, and there was no clear quid pro quo linking one priority to the other.
On Obamacare: President Obama and Senate Democrats rammed Obamacare through Congress—without popular or even bipartisan support—setting the stage for a funding challenge down the road. Since passage of the law, which some members of Congress admitted to never having actually read, its damaging side effects—including higher premiums, new and higher taxes, loss of employer-provided health coverage, and loss of full-time work hours—have become painfully apparent.
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has exercised its constitutional power of the purse by repeatedly passing bills that would fund the entire government, except for Obamacare or certain portions of the unfair and unworkable law. But the Democrat-controlled Senate repeatedly rejected their offers. The House then shifted to reopen parts of the government step by step, in a bid to end the shutdown incrementally, without funding Obamacare. But the Senate and President have largely spurned this approach, too, holding as much of the government hostage as they could to pressure Republicans to surrender to the President’s demands.
More than a dozen provisions in the Affordable Care Act were already changed, and the President chose to unilaterally delay parts of the law, granting exemptions to well-connected parties by, for example, delaying the controversial employer mandate. The American people deserve the same treatment under the law—they too deserve a break from Obamacare’s harmful provisions.
On Sequestration: Democrats, including Senator Charles Schumer (D–NY), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D–CA), Representative Jim Moran (D–VA), and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D–MD) have made it very clear that they want more spending on unnecessary and inappropriate discretionary programs, or they would rather see the government shut down. But to use the President’s phrasing, sequestration is the law of the land. Not only that, but sequestration—originally a White House idea—was enacted with bipartisan support, as Congress agreed to a $2.1 trillion increase in the debt limit. The additional borrowing capacity was used up within less than a year and a half, while the meager cuts (2.5 percent of spending over the decade) were to be phased in over a decade. Lawmakers had plenty of time to ward off sequestration, but they chose not to.
Now it’s time to find additional cuts in spending, not undo minor reductions already agreed to. To ease the harm done to the nation’s military readiness, Congress could reprogram the cuts to prioritize the one core constitutional function of government: national defense.
The House budget proposal would do a great disservice to the millions of Americans who are demanding that Congress grant them fairness under the law by defunding or delaying Obamacare. It would also do a great disservice to taxpayers by spending more on the discretionary budget when too much is already wasted and poorly targeted.
The nation faces a very real spending and debt crisis, and the entitlements are the key drivers of the problem. Reforming entitlements is not a partisan priority; it’s a national obligation to ward off a debt crisis that would hurt all Americans today and in the future.
UPDATE: This post was based on a report from the Washington Post that has subsequently been changed. You can view the original article here.