Friday, September 20, 2013

Budget CR has 2 Big Hurdles To Go

The US House, in a bipartisan effort, passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) that funds the government for three months, but cuts funding for many Obamacare programs.

In a 230-189 vote, the house passed the bill that extends the current budget, funding government activities and programs through until January 2014. The FY13 budget expires at midnight Oct 1, '13. This resolution is a means to keep the government working until a budget can be passed.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) released this statement after receiving the news:

“Today, the House of Representatives did what Washington pundits only a few weeks ago said was impossible: a strong bipartisan majority voted to defund Obamacare. This is a victory for House conservatives, and it is a victory for Speaker Boehner and Republican leadership.

“The American people overwhelmingly oppose Obamacare — a program which is killing jobs, dragging down the economy, and harming the most vulnerable among us. They deserve a fight — and House Republicans are leading that charge.

“But the House was just step one. Step two is the Senate, where all accounts suggest Harry Reid plans to use procedural gimmicks to try to add funding back in for Obamacare.

“If Reid pursues this plan — if he insists on using a 50-vote threshold to fund Obamacare with a partisan vote of only Democrats — then I hope that every Senate Republican will stand together and oppose cloture on the bill in order to keep the House bill intact and not let Harry Reid add Obamacare funding back in.

"Now is a time for party unity; Senate Republicans should stand side-by-side with courageous House Republicans.

“The fight to save America from Obamacare is just beginning — it may well go back and forth from the House and Senate several times — and a united Republican front means that Harry Reid and the President cannot ignore the American people.”

However, congress has failed to pass and Obama has failed to enact a budget since Jan. 20, 2009. The FY09 budget was passed while Bush was still in office. No budget has been passed since. Each year, similar CRs have been passed to "kick" the proverbial federal budget "can down the road". This happened even during '09 and '10 when the Democratic party held a super-majority in both houses of congress. In addition, each year, Congress has passed an NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) that added the national defense budget to other annual legislation concerning the military. The US Constitution requires congress to pass a military budget biannually.

The US House was the first of three major hurdles for the CR. It was also the easiest.

During the August Recess, many representatives and senators conducted meetings with constituents. Those who did not saw their offices flooded with emails, phone calls, and direct mailings. The message was clear. At least 51% of the people want the PPACA unfunded and, at least, delayed. Many representatives who opposed legislation that would cut the funding for most of the major programs and provisions of the law changed their minds. Many of them are already looking at their re-election campaigns which are already starting. The elections will take place in November 2014, more than a year from now.

The House was the easy obstacle. The US Senate will prove more difficult.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who tends to do Vice President Biden's job of leading the Senate these days, has declared the Senate will not pass this CR. He has declared it "Dead, dead, dead" on arrival. Meanwhile, several GOP Senators are facing potentially career-ending primary elections in 2014. Why? Because their constituents feel betrayed over their inaction on cutting funding on Obamacare and repealing it.

Still others, more aligned with the grass roots organizations who supported their elections, such as Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, are fighting hard to pass this CR in the Senate. With the fierce opposition from the Democrat majority and seeming apathy or compliance from more entrenched insiders such as Lindsey Graham and John McCain, it will be a hard battle. Political analysts have predicted the CR will pass with amendments that cancel the cuts to the PPACA. Should that happen, the bill will return to the House for reconciliation. After a defeat in the Senate and with another budgetary cliff only inches away, fears are the House will balk and pass the Senate's changes.

Even should the CR pass both houses, as is, and retain the cuts to the PPACA, Obama has already declared he will immediately veto the CR. At that point, it will take 2/3 of each house to pass his veto. The measure may pass the House with a 2/3 majority. It will not pass the Senate, though. The only answer is some form of compromise with Obama. There are several deals Obama could make that include options for Syria, restrictions on coal, wasting taxpayer money on "green energy" scams, repealing the 22nd Amendment, passing unconstitutional infringements on the 2nd Amendment, and many others. All of these deals would be extremely harmful to the nation. The question would be if Obamacare is a greater threat to our nation and our economic future.