Both of Nevada County’s U.S. Congressional representatives have signed on to the Defund Obamacare Act that would withhold funding for the President’s signature legislation as enrollment for the Affordable Care Act is set to begin in October.
After its August recess, Congress has until the end of the fiscal quarter Sept. 30 to raise the debt ceiling. Critics say that HR 2682’s proposal to not include funding for the Affordable Care Act as part of a continuing resolution would lead to a federal government shutdown, as President Barack Obama is not expected to sign a bill that would defund his premier first-term accomplishment.
Rep. Doug LaMalfa, who represents California’s first congressional district that includes most of Nevada County, was one of the bill’s original cosponsors along with Rep. Tom McClintock, whose district includes the Truckee sliver of Nevada County, signing on 11 days later.
“As we approach the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30 and the authorization for the federal government expires, we face the prospect of a government shutdown ... I am simply not going to vote for any continuing resolutions to kick that can down the road,” said McClintock in a YouTube video of an Aug. 13 Sacramento town hall meeting.
“Now I will make one exception to that, and that is if we can get a provision in the continuing resolution that defunds Obamacare this year,” McClintock said.
Officials in McClintock’s office indicated that he was not available for comment Wednesday or Thursday. Calls and emails on those days to LaMalfa’s office were not returned as of press time.
“(W)e’ve seen a faction of Republicans in Congress suggest that maybe America shouldn’t pay its bills that have already been run up, that we should shut down government if they can’t shut down Obamacare,” Obama said Thursday while proposing a higher education rating system in Buffalo, N.Y.
HR 2682 proponents say the same thing of their detractors.
“The smartest thing the House of Representatives could do is pass a (continuing resolution) as soon as possible that funds the government with the exception of Obamacare,” said Hans A. von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation, in a news release.
“That would force the president and his supporters to explain why they would shut down the government to fund an unfair, unaffordable and highly unpopular law that is so unworkable that the administration has itself admitted it cannot manage to implement major portions on time, such as the employer mandate to provide insurance.”
However, Republicans themselves are divided on the tactic.
Republican Sen. Richard Burr has been quoted as calling the defund effort the “dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.”
North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows and 79 of his Republican colleagues sent a letter Wednesday to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) urging them to defund Obamacare as part of a government funding bill. Moderates like Boehner oppose the idea but have been unwilling to publicly condemn the effort.
Even former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the GOP’s 2012 presidential candidate, warned his fellow Republicans against risking a government shutdown to defund Obamacare.
Former House Speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich also rebuked GOP lawmakers for solely opposing the healthcare overhaul without coming up with a viable alternative.
“As Congress goes back into session and considers alternatives to the President’s plan, I want to hear our constituents’ ideas for reforms that truly increase access and decrease costs,” LaMalfa said in a Thursday announcement of a town hall meeting Monday in Chico with Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) to discuss the healthcare overhaul’s implementation.
“North State residents need to understand how their access to medical care will be impacted once the clock runs out on the president’s health care plan,” said LaMalfa, who signed a pledge prior to winning the election to repeal, defund, deauthor and dismantle the so-called the Affordable Care Act.
“Obama has temporarily nullified the requirement that your employer buy you an Obamacare health plan, but he has left in place the requirement that you buy an Obamacare health plan,” McClintock said.
“If we are going to delay it, it ought to be by congressional action and it ought to be the whole thing at the same time,” McClintock said.
“That is the one instance under which I will support the continuing resolution.”
The Associated Press’ Andrew Taylor, Bill Barrow and Michael R. Blood contributed to this report. To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4236.