When the new House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (left, R-Wis.) announced that his budget committee would produce budgets for the agencies of the Executive Branch “that assume Obamacare has been repealed,” Ryan was using the most effective limitation provided by the Founders to keep the Executive Branch under control: its funding.
With the formal repeal of ObamaCare by the House of Representatives on Wednesday, January 12 all but assured, this was the most obvious next strategy to keep ObamaCare moribund. In addition, Ryan indicated that any new legislation approved by his committee would use special “mechanisms” to make certain that funds for other agencies could not be used indirectly to fund ObamaCare. As CNS News reminded its readers:
Under the Constitution, the Executive Branch cannot spend money unless it has been appropriated by Congress, and Congress cannot appropriate money without the approval of both the Senate and the House, which the Republicans now control. [Emphasis added.]
When pressed for details on how exactly that might work, Ryan explained that his committee will “send the numbers, the cap, to the appropriators. They [then] write the spending bills. And inside of those spending bills is where we do plan on pursuing other mechanisms of trying to repeal this law.”
Reality guarantees resistance from those who voted for and continue to favor ObamaCare and who are still members of the House, including Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.): “[The Republicans] have the majority, good for them…I think they will find the Democrats [like me] ready and able to resist those efforts.”
Writing in the New York Post right after the mid-term election, Michael Tanner reviewed the many options open to the House to keep ObamaCare from stirring. There could be investigations of supporters of ObamaCare to have them explain the many contradictions that have now become evident in the law. For instance, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, an ongoing supporter of the law, could be asked about estimates that the cost of healthcare under ObamaCare will actually increase rather than go down, and that millions of Americans will not be able to keep their present insurance under ObamaCare, as originally promised. Donald Berwick, the recess-appointed head of Medicare and Medicaid, could be forced to explain how ObamaCare would threaten the quality of American healthcare, if it is allowed to be fully implemented.
And there is pressure to repeal certain parts of ObamaCare that are especially rankling, including the requirement for businesses to file 1099s with the IRS for every vendor with which they do $600 worth of business in a year. Waivers for exemption from the system have been granted, and Congress could make those waivers permanent and even expand them.
The most effective tool at the disposal of the House, according to Tanner, is that precisely outlined by Ryan:
For example, the IRS says it will need to hire as many as 13,500 additional IRS agents [just] to administer the law’s unpopular individual mandate. Congress should refuse to appropriate the money to do so.
All sorts of provisions could be subject to defunding. Theoretically, the House could go so far as to forbid HHS officials from spending any time working on any aspect of the law.
Milton Wolf in the Washington Times is adamant on the matter: “[Obamacare has] become ground zero in the fight for America’s future. It is a struggle…between liberty and tyranny, between self-determination and central control.”
We must do everything we can to delay implementation of Obamacare so that in January 2013, our new president and Congress can finally undo this unholy government expansion.
Wouldn’t it be remarkable if the single most effective tool is one that was placed there in the Constitution at the founding of the Republic?
Article I, Section 7: All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives…
Even more remarkable would be the transformation of the political landscape if, following the successful defunding of ObamaCare, other rogue and unconstitutional agencies such as the Department of Education, Energy, the EPA, and Commerce, were similarly defunded. Imagine the federal buildings empty, dark, uninhabited, representing the failed efforts of abusers of constitutional limitations to enforce their tyranny on the republic. Imagine a people reinvigorated with the power to run their own lives, make their own decisions, pursue their own happinesses, without the ever-encroaching spectre of the ObamaCare nanny-state at their back.
Citizens will know very soon if the teeth of the Constitution provided by its authors will be effective in starving the beast, or whether the Constitution is toothless…a paper tiger…which may continue to be ignored by its abusers with impunity.