Defunding Health Reform Latest GOP Pledge To Crumble

Bill Scher

Before becoming Speaker, Rep. John Boehner flatly pledged to deny all funding to the health reform law if he couldn’t repeal it, saying, “They’ll get not one dime from us. Not a dime.”

How interesting then that, all of the sudden, Speaker Boehner is carrying a big sack of shiny dimes. Politico reports:

As the GOP writes a continuing resolution to fund the government for the rest of the year, it is likely to leave out language that would shut off funding for new mandates and programs under the health care law, according to Republican aides and lawmakers…

…A House Appropriations Committee aide insisted that Republicans need to write a continuing resolution that can be signed into law — keeping the federal government open — and isn’t “loaded up with a bunch of political time bombs.”

Funny that what previously was the ultimate demand of the “American people” is now a “political time bomb” that would surely prevent our federal government from remaining open.

Interesting. Funny. But not surprising.

Hysterical Tea Party rhetoric notwithstanding, the “American people” don’t want the health reform law to disappear. They want our government to expand coverage. They want insurance companies to be banned from denying coverage to the sick. They want young adults to easily get insurance through their families.

The only thing that’s a little surprising is the clear understanding of public opinion that the House Republican leadership appears to have.

They apparently aren’t drinking the Fox News Kool-aid that America is fundamentally a conservative nation. They are hesitant to actually put full-throttle conservatism into practice, knowing that a massive backlash would be unleashed.

We’ve already seen them pull back on their original spending cut promises made to their right-wing base. And now they are flinching on health reform.

But that’s just the leadership. Most conservatives in Congress seem to believe their own hype, and are seething while their leadership bows to the reality of America’s progressive majority. In fact, conservatives may still successfully vote on the House floor adding an amendment to ban funding for health reform. But for the leadership to shun the provision in the original bill sends a clear signal to the Democratic Senate that this not an issue it plans to insist upon.

Earlier this year, conservative Rep. Steve King insisted the continuing resolution include the defunding of health reform because, “Americans understand that a House that is truly interested in opposing Obamacare with every tool at its disposal would not hesitate to block the law’s funding.”

He’s right.

The House Republican leaders may not be doing anything about jobs. They may be trying to keep the Tea Partiers at bay. But at least they know better than to think the rest of America believes everything that spouts from the Tea Party kettle.

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