WHY NOT treat ObamaCare like abortion?




The Hyde Amendment has been a valuable tool in the fight against government-funding of abortion:

In U.S. politics, the Hyde Amendment is a legislative provision barring the use of certain federal funds to pay for abortions with exceptions for incest and rape.[1]It is not a permanent law, rather it is a “rider” that, in various forms, has been routinely attached to annual appropriations bills since 1976. The Hyde Amendment applies only to funds allocated by the annual appropriations bill for the Department of Health and Human Services. It primarily affects Medicaid.

The original Hyde Amendment was passed on September 30, 1976 by the House of Representatives, by a 207-167 vote. It was named for its chief sponsor, Republican Congressman Henry Hyde of Illinois. The measure was a response to the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade which legalized abortion, and represented the first major legislative success by the United States pro-life movement, also known as the United States anti-abortion movement. Congress subsequently altered the Hyde Amendment several times. The version in force from 1981 until 1993 prohibited the use of federal funds for abortions “except where the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term.”[2]

On October 22, 1993, President Clinton signed into law the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1994.[3] ?The Act contained a new version of the Hyde Amendment that expanded the category of abortions for which federal funds are available under Medicaid to include cases of rape and incest.[4]

Medicaid is mandatory spending.  But the Hyde Amendment manages to place limits on that mandatory spending.  The GOP establishment is telling us we can’t defund ObamaCare in the upcoming continuing resolution because so much of ObamaCare is “mandatory spending.”   Never mind that the Hyde Amendment has been placing restrictions on Medicaid spending since 1976. 

US Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) has proposed taking the framework of the Hyde Amendment and applying it to the fight against ObamaCare:

Not a single senator or representative is “threatening to shut down the federal government.” Not one.

Contrary to a Tulsa World editorial (“Coburn is right,” Aug. 1), no senators are “planning to hold up the continuing resolution needed to maintain federal appropriations after Sept. 30.”

Our intent is not to shut down the federal government. We plan to fund everything except the unaffordable Affordable Care Act. The group led by Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Marco Rubio of Florida, plus several representatives, including myself, are reluctantly ready to pass a continuing resolution that funds the entire government, excluding “Obamacare.”

This legislative strategy has been employed successfully for nearly four decades. It simply prohibits expenditure of taxpayer funds for a specified purpose.

For example, every year since 1976, Congress has enacted the Hyde Amendment, restricting federal funding for abortion coverage in the Medicaid entitlement.

(As an aside, it is an unfortunate fact that “Obamacare” sidesteps the Hyde Amendment by compelling businesses and individuals, rather than the government, to pay for health insurance that includes abortions.)

Republican critics argue that the strategy won’t work because “Obamacare” is mostly “mandatory spending,” while a continuing resolution addresses only “discretionary spending.” The Hyde Amendment is a restriction on mandatory funding even though the amendment has been attached to discretionary appropriations legislation every year.

This is a proven strategy with historical precedent.

The Republican critics are correct that a government shutdown will not stop “Obamacare.” Most “Obamacare” payments are non-discretionary and would not stop in a “shutdown.”

That is precisely why we don’t want a government shutdown. The continuing resolution legislation we are promoting would fund the entire federal government but specifically prohibit any spending, mandatory or discretionary, on “Obamacare.”

After House passage, the Senate can concur or Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid can decide to shut down the government.

If the Senate passes the continuing resolution, it will be President Obama who must decide to sign the legislation or shut down the government.

Contrary to conventional wisdom inside the beltway, this effort will energize Republicans and flip Democratic voters. If “Obamacare” were actually going well, the president would want it to kick in before the election in 2014, not after.

The fact is that the president and the Democrats are very concerned that the whole scheme is unworkable.

As we get closer to implementation, more people are seeing how expensive and burdensome “Obamacare” will be.

Democrats who passed it are admitting it is unworkable.

The lead Senate author, Democrat Max Baucus of Montana, has called it a “huge train wreck.” James Hoffa, president of the Teamsters Union, said “Obamacare” is destroying the 40-hour work week that has been the backbone of the American middle class. Even President Obama’s delay of the “employer mandate” is a tacit admission that it is not working.

Now President Obama is threatening to shut down the government rather than extend a similar break to hard-working individuals. He claims to be helping the poor and middle class. He is instead advantaging his big business cronies and harming individuals. This is not fair. It will be his choice if the government is shut down.

As a member of Congress, I have received letters and calls from Democrats and Republicans alike who are asking me to do something to eliminate “Obamacare.” I intend to do so.

For the good of our country, the continuing resolution is our last best hope to dismantle this terrible legislation.

Republicans in the House and Senate should listen to their constituents rather than fight them. We have 58 days until the previous continuing resolution expires.

We need immediate, strong, grassroots activism to convince Congress that this is our last best chance to thwart this egregious law. […]