04.29.2014 0

House leader admits Obamacare ‘probably’ here to stay

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By Robert Romano

Resistance is futile.

That’s the latest word from Republican leadership in Washington, D.C. on getting rid of Obamacare — or apparently accomplishing much of anything else, for that matter.

In an interview with the Spokesman-Review, House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) reportedly “told the Spokesman Review editorial board [as much] on Thursday, saying the law is likely here to stay and the focus should be on reforming the exchanges to offer more choices and ensure that the newly covered can gain access to doctors.”

One hopes that McMorris Rodgers was misquoted. That somehow the editorial board in Spokane, Wash. misheard her. As it stands, she is disputing the report, which is extremely damaging to the Republican brand.

“The headline is not an accurate or representative portrayal of what the congresswoman said in the interview, what her voting record reflects, or what she believes. She will continue fighting to repeal Obamacare at every opportunity moving forward and replace it with patient-centered reforms,” McMorris Rodgers spokesman Nate Hodson said to the Washington Examiner.

However, the Spokesman-Review is sticking to its guns, with reporter Kip Hill telling the Weekly Standard that a member of the editorial board specifically asked McMorris Rodgers, “Is Obamacare here to stay?” and she replied, “Probably.”

This account was confirmed by Spokesman-Review editorial page editor Bert Caldwell, who asked McMorris Rodgers the question, when Americans for Limited Government reached out to him for comment. “She said it,” he said. We believe Caldwell.

For what it’s worth, this is why Americans for Limited Government were ardent supporters of the push to defund Obamacare last year.

At the time, we predicted that with as many as 86 million Americans for the first time qualifying for taxpayer-funded health insurance under Obamcare either through Medicaid or the exchanges, a political constituency would be created all but guaranteeing the law is never repealed once it was fully implemented.

In that sense, what McMorris Rodgers offered was a sober-eyed, blunt assessment of the current state of affairs.

If anything, she understated it. The outlook is incredibly grim. Whether it is the fact that Republicans have never had a filibuster-proof majority in the U.S. Senate since the advent of Rule XXII establishing cloture 97 years ago. They presumably need to get to 60 votes in the Senate one way or another to pass a repeal.

Or the fact that every major entitlement program that has been established since then has only ever been expanded to include more subsidies.

Or that the national debt has grown every since year since 1957.

Or that even when the government was briefly “shut down” in 2013, more than 80 percent of the $3.627 trillion budget was still being spent — flying on autopilot without any further congressional authorization required.

Or that when the prospect of using the debt ceiling to rein in spending is so much as raised, House leaders instantly cede their leverage — the only leverage they have — as soon as the administration threatens a national default.

In that sense, there is very good reason to be cynical.

McMorris Rodgers is not alone. Her comments do appear to accurately represent the mood up on Capitol Hill. For example, Wisconsin Republican Rep. Tom Petri dished about his congressional colleagues at a town hall meeting that all of the votes to repeal Obamacare in the House have been simply for appearances sake.

“They’re new members, they want to be on the record against it,” Petri told residents in his district. “Constituents are saying you haven’t done anything, so the new members say — bring it up so we can vote against it, so we can say at least we tried. That’s what’s going on.”

So, the votes have been nothing more than a show. Being a long-time member of the Republican conference, Petri certainly would be in a position to know where members are on the issue behind closed doors.

So, perhaps McMorris Rodgers was simply being honest when she told the Spokesman-Review that Obamacare is “probably” here to stay. The sense of inevitability in the Capitol is widespread.

But it is misplaced. Maybe the reason it is here to stay is because Congressional Republicans simply see no path to victory against the entitlement state. They don’t see any way to fight it, and so they won’t fight.

Therefore, Obamacare is here to stay. And given Republican leaders’ defeatist attitude in rejecting the defund approach last year, it is little wonder why.

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

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