Even if they win majorities in both the house and the senate, the GOP will not be able to have a successful vote to overturn Obamacare as long as Barack Obama wields a veto pen (unless of course they get a veto-proof majority which is not going to happen this election). For the time being, should the Republicans gain control of the House of Representatives the only way they will be able to stop Obamacare is to starve the program by denying it funding.
Representative Todd Tiahrt of Kansas, the senior Republican on the House Appropriations subcommittee, said the “defunding” strategy “is a very serious idea” that’s gaining support among party members emboldened by the response of constituents in their home areas, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its Oct. 4 issue. “There is definitely going to be a run at it,” he said in a telephone interview.
And the House, which constitutionally originates all spending bills, is expected to be in Republican hands after the elections.
In the meantime, the strategy to attack funding for the overhaul promises to produce a year of political skirmishing. The White House says denial of money would block consumer protections and deprive senior citizens of added Medicare benefits. A funding stalemate may spur a government shutdown and produce a backlash against Republicans, said Joseph A. Antos, an American Enterprise Institute scholar and overhaul critic.
Even if everything else goes right it may not be possible to refund the entire bill
John Murray, a spokesman for Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the second-ranking Republican in the House, said that if control of the House flips, possible targets for defunding may be the insurance exchanges, the new agency set up under the law to compare different drugs’ effectiveness and any added staffing that may be sought to manage coverage expansions.
By vetoing spending measures that don’t include money for the law, Obama may set up a situation similar to the 1995 government shutdown triggered by a spending dispute between the then Republican-controlled Congress and Democratic President Bill Clinton.
That shutdown hurt the Republicans, who lost congressional seats in 1996. James T. Walsh, a former Republican chairman of Tiahrt’s panel, said Republicans could dodge blame this time by portraying Obama as the instigator.
“If the president precipitates that, then the president precipitated it,” said Walsh, who is now a lobbyist for the Washington firm K&L Gates. Republicans should just “go about their business,” he said.
But this time it is different, the people want Obamacare stopped, this action will be supporting the will of the American Voters.
Tiahrt said a shutdown wouldn’t necessarily be bad, considering the enthusiasm among Tea Party and Republican activists for limiting the size of government.
The prospect of Congress changing hands the year after passing a law as complex as the overhaul, then attempting to defund the law’s implementation may be unprecedented, said Paul Van de Water, a health-care expert at the nonprofit Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, D.C.
“I can’t think of any previous attempt to kill a major presidential initiative by not funding it,” he said in an e- mail.
There is a first time for everything, and based on the anger the American people have for Congress, should the GOP win the house, they better get something done or their rule will be a short one.