10.18.2013 0

A House majority in name only

Cartoon - Cruz Vs Establishment

By Robert Romano

House Republican leaders never had any intention of defunding or even delaying implementation of Obamacare.

No other conclusion can be drawn from the complete capitulation by House Speaker John Boehner in agreeing to end the partial government shutdown, suspend the debt ceiling until Feb. 7, and allow funding for Obamacare to take effect without condition.

Oh, and there will be another “supercommittee” to discuss long-term changes to spending, which like its predecessors will most certainly fail to do a thing to roll back Obamacare or the rest of the entitlement state.

This was a position that just a week ago Boehner had described was an “unconditional surrender by Republicans.” Yet, here we are.

Of course, this outcome was all but inevitable, particularly once the Oct. 17 artificial deadline to increase the $16.699 trillion debt ceiling got cobbled together with legislation continuing appropriations for the federal government. Once that happened, defeat was a certainty.

In August, Americans for Limited Government’s Bill Wilson, a member of the group’s board of directors, predicted precisely this outcome in his piece, “Don’t fall for House leadership’s Obamacare salt lick for suckers.”

Then, Wilson wrote, “The salt lick set out by the Republican establishment is the whispered promise that if conservatives will just allow the funding bill — the continuing resolution — to pass with Obamacare funding in it, they will somehow link changes to the hated socialized medicine law to the debt-ceiling increase that will be brought up before the end of the year.”

He continued, “And, just like the deer, if conservatives go for this ruse, they will be politically gunned down by those in their party who have no intention of doing anything serious to stop Obamacare.”

Fast forward two short months and one can see very plainly what went wrong for Republican lawmakers. Leaders allowed the Oct. 17 supposed deadline to increase the debt ceiling to come, and then simply linked that legislation to a continuing resolution to end the shutdown.

If Boehner had truly wished to continue fighting against Obamacare, he could have simply put up legislation that increased the debt ceiling, and lived to fight another day on the continuing resolution.

Instead, in one fell swoop, Boehner sacrificed all of his leverage and got absolutely nothing in return.

And we’re to believe this was not intentional? Giving Obama a debt ceiling victory was what Republican leaders have had in mind from the very beginning. Supposedly, according to a Sept. 15 article from Politico, “Boehner and his top lieutenants believe that digging in for a fight over the debt ceiling gives them more leverage against Obama and Democrats.”

Yeah, it was such good leverage that the moment the issue came up, Republicans folded like a cheap, big tent. ALG’s Wilson predicted it back in August: “Does anyone seriously think for one second the threat of default and the subsequent ‘downgrading’ by the ratings agencies would not swat away any demand for changes to Obamacare?”

Indeed, because Republicans were never willing to go past the Oct. 17 deadline and risk Obama defaulting on the debt, they never had a chance on the debt ceiling.

Ironically, the continuing resolution ending on Jan. 15 and the debt ceiling again coming due on Feb. 7 is about the same length of time as between Sept. 30 and Oct. 17 respective deadlines.

This new timing all but guarantees that should there be another showdown over the continuing resolution, the debt ceiling can once again be wielded as a hammer to end any partial government shutdown.

Calling into question why the American people should even bother electing Republicans into the House majority in the first place when a minority of them just turn around and vote with Democrats to fund Obamacare.

A majority of House Republicans voted against the tax bill that raised taxes on those making $400,000 and above, including many small businesses, legislation that passed.

A majority voted against so-called hurricane “disaster relief” because it was unpaid for and was stuffed with billions in unrelated pork even as it passed with Democrat support.

They also needed Democrat votes to get the March 21 continuing resolution across the finish line, too. Just like the vote to suspend the debt ceiling until May 19 — they needed Democrats for that vote.

Just like the vote on the continuing resolution that came before that. Or when the House increased the debt ceiling in 2011 before that.

In short, to accomplish anything, Boehner requires the votes of Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats.

It is a majority in name only that has absolutely zero role in determining the future direction of the nation, whether it be the budget or the health care law, energy policy, monetary policy, regulatory policy and host of other issues that have been outsourced to the administrative state.

James Madison once wrote that the congressional “power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance.”

Yet, House Republican leaders remain unwilling to use it with any effect. Instead, they have agreed unconditionally to allow funding for Obamacare. And now, as a result, they own it.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.

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