September 10, 2013

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Eric Cantor and the Trojan Rabbit

Eric Cantor’s latest tactic in the battle to defund Obamacare reminds me of the Trojan Rabbit in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

According to Business Insider’s Josh Barro:

It’s a strategy predicated on the idea that Republican activists are stupid. Many of them are stupid. But they’re not stupid enough to fall for this.

(Barro is hard-left, btw.)

From what I can gather, Cantor intends to pass two continuing resolutions out of the House. One funds Obamacare along with some other cuts and increases. The other doesn’t.

House Republican leadership hopes the Senate will screw up and pass the wrong one, defunding Obamacare without a shutdown.

Not really. House leadership actually hopes the Senate passes the bill that funds Obamacare because it also funds some Republican favorites.

I have to give the GOP leaders credit for courage. They’re begging for really nasty primary fights next year.

Meanwhile, over on twitter, Rep. Ann Wagner’s spokesperson is arguing nonsense.

@whennessy ObamaCare funding is all mandatory spending and the CR is discretionary funding, meaning it would stop less than 1% of the law

— Patrick Howell (@pchowell01) September 10, 2013

Here’s what Heritage Action for America has to say about that:

According to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), “will incur substantial administrative costs to implement the law’s private insurance reforms and its changes to the federal health care programs.” And while Obamacare provided $1 billion in mandatory funding when it was first enacted, HHS projects that this is largely spent. According to CRS, Obamacare’s, “administrative costs will have to be funded through annual discretionary appropriations.”

Furthermore, discretionary spending bills routinely contain provisions making changes to mandatory spending, and there is no reason that the CR could not have. Unfortunately, the House-passed CR contained no specific language precluding HHS and IRS from funding implementation, and as a result, implementation will go forward.

House leaders don’t want to fight. They want to pass the buck, as Patrick Howell admits:

@whennessy How many “moderate” Democrats would be forced to oppose ObamaCare. The battle is in the Senate, and we should be calling Senators

— Patrick Howell (@pchowell01) September 10, 2013

In other words, “give up.” Stop calling Ann Wagner’s office. Call Roy Blunt, instead.

I’m all for calling Blunt, but Patrick’s tweets do not demonstrate leadership; they perpetuate finger-pointing.