This contribution is part of our weekly This Week In Washington series
The sequester began to take effect last Friday, and much to the chagrin of the statists, nobody has noticed the difference. It appears that Republicans will finally take yes for an answer and pocket the sequester victory. However, the real fight will begin this week when the House brings the Continuing Resolution (CR) to the floor. Will Republicans cave and abjure their last opportunity to defund Obamacare before it takes effect next year?
FY 2013 Budget Continuing Resolution – On Wednesday, Republican leaders in the House plan to bring Hal Rogers’s Continuing Resolution to the floor. At present, the federal government is operating on a CR that funds the government through March 27 at an annualized rate of $1.043 trillion in discretionary spending. Now that the sequester has gone into effect, the discretionary number would decrease to $974 billion (although only $44 billion in outlays would actually be cut this year). Unfortunately, Republicans are still fighting the sequester in the CR, even though Democrats were already soundly defeated. The sequester is here to stay. Now Republicans need to use the CR for the next fight – the most important battle of our time – to defund Obamacare.
Sadly, Republicans plan to bring a CR to the floor that contains funding for the Obamacare implementation for the HHS and the individual mandate enforcement at the IRS. What does the HHS do with this extra discretionary funding? They have just finalized 700 pages of new healthcare regulations. There is no way our nation will ever recover from that. Healthcare is the biggest part of the private economy and the federal budget. This is the one thing that is worth fighting for. This will be our last chance to block Obamacare.
Reps. Jim Bridenstine (OK) and Tim Huelskamp (KS) have the courage of their convictions to abide by their campaign promises. They are circulating a letter to their colleagues requesting leadership to defund Obamacare through the CR. We are looking for conservatives in the Senate to request the same from Mitch McConnell. Remember that this will not be a clean CR anyway. The White House has already requested dozens of spending “anomalies” to increase funds for pet projects. Well, defunding Obamacare at the HHS and IRS should be our request.
Take action: Please call the Republican members of the House, particularly the 105 members mentioned in this article, and request that they sign onto the Bridenstine-Huelskamp letter and commit to voting against any budget bill that funds Obamacare.
Immigration – Republicans continue to credulously offer support for amnesty in the hopes that Obama will enforce the laws in the future, even as he is shredding our immigration laws and releasing criminal aliens from prison. This week, Republicans in the House will commence a series of seminars on strategy and policy as it relates to immigration. This will provide conservative with both an opportunity and potential peril. It is a positive sign that Republicans are now discussing the issue amongst themselves, instead of with Democrats.
However, they need to move away from giving into the premise of amnesty, and instead towards an offensive strategy attacking Obama for his malfeasance regarding law enforcement. I drafted a checklist of conservative concerns and guiding principles that should be examined as part of any true immigration reform proposal. You can read it here.
Nomination of Caitlin Halligan – The second most important court in the country is the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. That is the court with original jurisdiction over many constitutional cases that arise from disputes over congressional legislation. It is important that we prevent all radicals who have no regard for the Constitution from serving on this panel. One such radical, Caitlin Halligan, will come before the Senate this week for consideration as a nominee to the DC court. Halligan is an outspoken liberal, most notably, on Second Amendment issues. As the Solicitor General for New York, Halligan advanced the argument that gun manufactures should be liable for the deaths of those killed in gun violence. She is also one of those lawyers who believe that the Commerce Clause grants the federal government unbridled power.
In 2011, every Republican except for Lisa Murkowski and Orrin Hatch voted to sustain a filibuster against Halligan. However, Obama resubmitted her nomination to the new session of the Senate, and there are signs of fracturing in the GOP opposition. Lindsey Graham actually voted for her in the Senate Judiciary Committee markup. We must pressure all Republicans to ensure that this radical is kept off such an important court.
Full Faith and Credit Act (H.R. 807) - Even as we fight to keep the GOP strong on the budget CR, we must prepare for the next point of leverage – the debt ceiling. Pursuant to the law passed in January, the debt ceiling is suspended until May 18. After that date, the Treasury will begin employing extraordinary measures, pushing off the ultimate deadline for another month or two.
In order to preclude Obama from politicizing the debt ceiling and the Republicans from running scared, Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) has introduced The Full Faith and Credit Act. This bill directs the United States Treasury, in the event the debt ceiling is reached, to pay principal and interest due on debt held by the public before making any other payments. This will completely take the issue of default off the table once and for all, freeing up conservatives to demand transformational reductions in the size of government before any new debt is granted. We must start pressuring our members to demand a vote on this bill well in advance of the debt ceiling deadline.
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