Mitch McConnell and John Boehner are falling all over themselves to disarm their respective caucuses before the new session even starts. Republicans were awarded majorities in both chambers on Capitol Hill with two specific instructions from voters: (1) get rid of ObamaCare, and (2) STOP amnesty. The power of the purse AND impeachment are two of the most powerful weapons the legislative branch has to keep the executive branch in check. Unfortunately, both leaders are going on record emphatically ruling out the use of either of those two weapons in any upcoming debates on amnesty or ObamaCare. So, threaten the possibility of a government shutdown, and the GOP leadership goes belly-up.
Texas senator Ted Cruz and North Carolina’s Mark Meadows led an effort last year to defund ObamaCare. Both men had the rug pulled out from underneath them by their fellow Republicans. The excuse establishment Republicans used for not going along with Cruz and Meadows was the Democrat-dominated Senate.
Now, we have a GOP-dominated Senate being sworn in at the start of the year. The excuse has now shifted to Obama’s veto power making any repeal efforts futile.
Fifty House Republicans have circulated a letter demanding that the appropriations process be used to defund any efforts to pay for Obama’s amnesty plans. (Walter Jones is the only Tar Heel pol signing on to the letter.)
Some conservative activist groups are now suggesting a similar tactic in the ObamaCare fight:
Conservatives in Washington are adamant that Senate Republicans should pass a full repeal of the healthcare law next year, even if it means a certain veto from President Obama.
With Senate Democrats likely to filibuster any stand-alone repeal bill, conservatives say incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) should use a procedural maneuver known as reconciliation to muscle through a bill with 51 votes.
“Republicans should use reconciliation to fully repeal ObamaCare,” said Ken Cuccinelli, president of the Senate Conservatives Fund. “Voters know that nothing is a bigger threat to the budget and our economy than ObamaCare. Sen. McConnell is on record saying that the law can be repealed with 51 votes and Republican voters expect him to keep his word.”
Dan Holler, the communications director at Heritage Action, said “the most important” thing that Republicans could do in the majority would be to “use the reconciliation instructions to repeal ObamaCare.”
McConnell suggested at a post-election press conference last week that Republicans could take advantage of reconciliation, but did not commit to using it for ObamaCare repeal.
“There are some things we can do with 51 votes,” he told reporters.
McConnell appeared to throw cold water last month on a 51-vote strategy, arguing on Fox News that it would take 60 votes and a presidential signature to nullify the healthcare law.
“No one thinks we’re going to get that,” McConnell said.
Given that Democrats used reconciliation to pass the healthcare law in the spring of 2010, advocates on the right say it’s time to turn the tables.
“Reconciliation is now a vehicle by which you pass big ideas. It was used to pass ObamaCare so it seems legitimate to use it to fix its most onerous provisions,” said FreedomWorks CEO Matt Kibbe. “But they’re going to have to go big as opposed to the technocratic small provisions they’ve been talking about so far,” such as getting rid of the individual mandate, he said.
Reconciliation is a complicated procedural maneuver that can only be used for legislation that impacts the federal budget.
In the mid-1990s, the Senate ushered through President Clinton’s deficit reduction and tax package using reconciliation. Likewise, the Senate used the maneuver in 2001 and 2003 to pass President George W. Bush’s tax cuts.[…]