September 20th, 2013
11:27 AM ET
11 months ago

House GOP launches shutdown battle by voting to defund Obamacare

Washington (CNN) – With one vote on Friday, the Republican-led House launched the latest spending battle in Congress - one that could bring a government shutdown in less than two weeks.

By a 230-189 vote almost strictly on party lines, the House passed a short-term government spending plan that would eliminate all funding for Obamacare.

FULL STORY

Filed under: Budget • Congress • Health care • House
soundoff (97 Responses)
  1. just saying

    read it and weep lefites. even the unions hate obamacare now, after helping jamming it down all of our throats.

    Dear Leader Reid and Leader Pelosi:

    When you and the President sought our support for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), you pledged that if we liked the health plans we have now, we could keep them. Sadly, that promise is under threat. Right now, unless you and the Obama Administration enact an equitable fix, the ACA will shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.

    Like millions of other Americans, our members are front-line workers in the American economy. We have been strong supporters of the notion that all Americans should have access to quality, affordable health care. We have also been strong supporters of you. In campaign after campaign we have put boots on the ground, gone door-to-door to get out the vote, run phone banks and raised money to secure this vision.

    Now this vision has come back to haunt us.

    Since the ACA was enacted, we have been bringing our deep concerns to the Administration, seeking reasonable regulatory interpretations to the statute that would help prevent the destruction of non-profit health plans. As you both know first-hand, our persuasive arguments have been disregarded and met with a stone wall by the White House and the pertinent agencies. This is especially stinging because other stakeholders have repeatedly received successful interpretations for their respective grievances. Most disconcerting of course is last week’s huge accommodation for the employer community—extending the statutorily mandated “December 31, 2013” deadline for the employer mandate and penalties.

    Time is running out: Congress wrote this law; we voted for you. We have a problem; you need to fix it. The unintended consequences of the ACA are severe. Perverse incentives are already creating nightmare scenarios:

    First, the law creates an incentive for employers to keep employees’ work hours below 30 hours a week. Numerous employers have begun to cut workers’ hours to avoid this obligation, and many of them are doing so openly. The impact is two-fold: fewer hours means less pay while also losing our current health benefits.

    Second, millions of Americans are covered by non-profit health insurance plans like the ones in which most of our members participate. These non-profit plans are governed jointly by unions and companies under the Taft-Hartley Act. Our health plans have been built over decades by working men and women. Under the ACA as interpreted by the Administration, our employees will treated differently and not be eligible for subsidies afforded other citizens. As such, many employees will be relegated to second-class status and shut out of the help the law offers to for-profit insurance plans.

    And finally, even though non-profit plans like ours won’t receive the same subsidies as for-profit plans, they’ll be taxed to pay for those subsidies. Taken together, these restrictions will make non-profit plans like ours unsustainable, and will undermine the health-care market of viable alternatives to the big health insurance companies.

    On behalf of the millions of working men and women we represent and the families they support, we can no longer stand silent in the face of elements of the Affordable Care Act that will destroy the very health and wellbeing of our members along with millions of other hardworking Americans.

    We believe that there are common-sense corrections that can be made within the existing statute that will allow our members to continue to keep their current health plans and benefits just as you and the President pledged. Unless changes are made, however, that promise is hollow.

    We continue to stand behind real health care reform, but the law as it stands will hurt millions of Americans including the members of our respective unions.

    We are looking to you to make sure these changes are made.

    James P. Hoffa
    General President
    International Brotherhood of Teamsters

    Joseph Hansen
    International President
    UFCW

    D. Taylor
    President
    UNITE-HERE

    September 20, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Kirk- I think you forget (as do most Republicans, conveniently) that the ACA really IS based on a Republican plan. It was Obama's attempt to do health care in a bipartisan way, when he was sure that single payer would not pass. So once again, the Republicans are against their own plan. They have no idea or clue or seemly, no desire to come up with anything else. Just their three year old tantrum, yet again...

    Getting old. They should be booted out for nonperformance of their jobs.

    September 20, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. Me

    Sniffit

    " work on overhauling the bill immediately!!!"

    With what? What changes? What proposals have the GOP/Teatrolls made for "overhauling the bill"? At what point, if ever, have the GOP/Teatrolls ever credibly stated a willingness to amend the law to address particular, well-founded concerns about its structure and the manner in which it functions? What would be the replacement? Please be specific...48 million people without any form of health insurance are DYING to know.
    ___________________
    Your party created the mess and shoved it down our throats you fix it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why do liberals always push blame, responsibility etc on everyone else but them selves, where it belongs in this case??? I would much rather WAIT for something to be done right versus half azzed like in this case! And guess what that 48 million won't change as much as you think, many have already said they can't afford it even with the governments help and that it is cheaper to just pay the fine, when you can't afford it you can afford it. Maybe I am wrong but only time will tell.

    September 20, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  4. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    This should be know as the "John Boehner law" as it reflects his role as Speaker as well as his vote. Ineffective and doomed to fail.

    September 20, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  5. just saying

    the highlights:

    1. When you and the President sought our support for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), you pledged that if we liked the health plans we have now, we could keep them. Sadly, that promise is under threat

    (commentary: the unions were lied to as wel l as the american people)

    2. Right now, unless you and the Obama Administration enact an equitable fix, the ACA will shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.

    (commentary: can you say deluxe job killer and life style killer?!)

    3. In campaign after campaign we have put boots on the ground, gone door-to-door to get out the vote, run phone banks and raised money to secure this vision.
    Now this vision has come back to haunt us.

    (translation: we thought it was clear that we bought and paid for you)

    4. The unintended consequences of the ACA are severe. Perverse incentives are already creating nightmare scenarios:

    (commentary: who would have thought passing a 2,400 page bill that nobody read and that spawned 20,000 pages of regulation would have unintended consequences?! shocking!! not!! and you gotta love the words nightmare scenario.)

    5. First, the law creates an incentive for employers to keep employees’ work hours below 30 hours a week. Numerous employers have begun to cut workers’ hours to avoid this obligation, and many of them are doing so openly. The impact is two-fold: fewer hours means less pay while also losing our current health benefits.

    (commentary: can you say job killer deluxe?!)

    6. And finally, even though non-profit plans like ours won’t receive the same subsidies as for-profit plans, they’ll be taxed to pay for those subsidies. Taken together, these restrictions will make non-profit plans like ours unsustainable, and will undermine the health-care market of viable alternatives to the big health insurance companies.

    (commentary: didn't the unions think that they would be subject to the attacks on those cadillac plans? wonder why?)

    7. We continue to stand behind real health care reform, but the law as it stands will hurt millions of Americans including the members of our respective unions.

    (commentary: obamacare hurts all of us. where was your concern earlier? oh yeah, you thought you owned the people writing the law.)

    8. We are looking to you to make sure these changes are made.

    (translation: do what we say or we will come after you. we paid to put you there and we will pay to take you out. democrats have been put on notice.)

    September 20, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  6. rs

    Your party created the mess and shoved it down our throats you fix it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why do liberals always push blame, responsibility etc on everyone else but them selves, where it belongs in this case???
    _________________________________________
    It comes from two things:
    First, for more than a month you guys have been screaming "shut it down" if you didn't get your way on a duly passed, Supreme Court vetted law. And... now that is exactly what you're doing-hence, YOUR Fault.
    Second NOTHING your party has said about the ACA has been, well, true. You have no plan, no alternative, and even deny the thing you hate most was part of a GOP plan pushed forward by the Heritage Foundation.

    You guys are just addicted to chaos- not leadership.

    September 20, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    Sure is a whole lot of yelling over a bill that is going nowhere fast. Boehner knows this. Ted Cruz knows this. The American people know this.

    /cue the popcorn while I shake my head at the silliness of what has become the Tea Party.

    September 20, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  8. Support Your Courageous Elected Representatives

    As a show of support for our elected representatives that voted to save this country from a pending train wreck, I propose that every supporter of the defunding of Obamacare send $1, $5, $10 (or whatever you can afford) to each and every House representative that voted to stop this national disaster. Let them know you are behind them 150%!!

    September 20, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  9. Jill-IN

    Alright already. We get it! You guys don't want anyone to buy health insurance in an open marketplace. If you aren't lucky enough to work with a large employer with a good group plan, then to hell with you! That's what the GOP thinks.

    September 20, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "Under the ACA as interpreted by the Administration, our employees will treated differently and not be eligible for subsidies afforded other citizens. "

    That's a blatant lie. Taft-Hartley Plan are treated just like employer provided plans in that the contributions made by the employer or union are PRE-TAX and deductible...i.e., the employees/union members do not pay tax on them. In the employer-provided situation, the employees are not eligible for direct subsidies, partly because the tax treatment of the employer contribution IS ALREADY A SUBSIDY. Same is true for Taft-Hartley plans. To give union members receiving health care from their unions a right to get direct subsidies while denying it to employees receiving health care from their employers would be exceedingly unfair and inequitable and would allow the unions to get a DOUBLE subsidy of their health plans that nobody else gets.

    What's really going on is that the unions are trying to use the threat of yanking support with Dems to try to get special treatment. They are trying to play the semantic game of saying "well, it's union provided, not employer provided, so it's different." It's not.

    September 20, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  11. Bill

    Good, shut down the government GOP whiners. And start by holding back every penny of these clown's salaries. Boehner is toast as Speaker and the GOP will pay a very heavy price at the polls.

    September 20, 2013 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "(translation: do what we say or we will come after you. we paid to put you there and we will pay to take you out. democrats have been put on notice.)"

    LOL! If you think there's going to be a mass exodus of union support for Dems or that they're magically going to start all voting for the GOP/Teatrolls, then you've been smoking Carpet Fresh.

    September 20, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Lynda/Minnesota

    Sure is a whole lot of yelling over a bill that is going nowhere fast. Boehner knows this. Ted Cruz knows this. The American people know this.

    /cue the popcorn
    -------------------------------------------------
    I like mine without butter Lynda!!
    You have the usual suspects copying and pasting their fannies off!
    just saying must be getting overtime pay!
    This bill is NOT going anywhere. We re-elected the President AFTER he gave us ACA. We want it. We're going to keep it.
    Nothing that folks like dingbat Donna, or Me ( you know, the one that likes to lecture folks on name calling, and is trying to portray himself as a "moderate conservative" but lies about Obamacare just as well as the other liars) et al is going to change that.

    September 20, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  14. $$$$

    Obamacare should be sent to Chicago. It will certainly be killed there.

    September 20, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  15. tom l

    @Rudy
    Rudy NYC

    tom l. wrote:

    "By a vote strictly on party lines, the House passed Obamacare and then was passed through reconciliation."
    --------
    Nahp. That's a historical re-write. The ACA was passed with 60 votes in the Senate. Remember all of that hullabaloo about buying the vote of certain Senator from the state of Nebraska? You're either lying or misinformed.

    "Nice try, but we gotcha."

    Lol. That certain senator was from Nebraska was Ben Nelson. He is a democrat and you can search for the Cornhusker kickback if you would like to know more about how he was bought off. It's ok. I won't harrass you. We all make mistakes on this board from time to time. I know that I said that Pelosi called Bush a loser when it was actually Reid that called him a loser. Pelosi said the Bush adninistration was a "total failure".

    September 20, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Me wrote:

    Your party created the mess and shoved it down our throats you fix it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why do liberals always push blame, responsibility etc on everyone else but them selves, where it belongs in this case??? ... ... ....
    ------------------
    Why? For starters, the Republicans boycotted the committee meetings to write the Health Care Reform law, and then pretended to be excluded from the process. Yet, some way, somehow, the Republicans knew all about all of the "horrors" in the bill months before it was even voted on.

    Two, the President saw this coming and so he moderated a televised health care debate, which the Republicans reluctantly had to attend. When the Republicans spoke, they demanded "our way, or the highway", "let's take it slow and do it piece by piece, a bit at a time", or "let's allow people to cross state lines", all of whiich essentially add up to the same thing, "let's not do anything at this time."

    That's why.

    September 20, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  17. Tony D

    As far as I can see, the House has funded all of the governemnt I believe should be funded. The Democrats passed Obamacare and it has too many problems even before it gets off the ground, which many believe it won't. Why intentionally drive our healthcare system into a brick wall to save face?

    This is looking just like the Syria debalce to me. Democrats and Obama know this is a trainwreck in progress but they must save face. Instead of putting the brakes on, they intend to put the pedal to the metal and try to jump the Grand Canyon. Who cares if our healthcare system gets destroyed in the process?

    It is the Democrats and Obama that are acting irrationally and irresponsibly in this case. Thank you Republicans for stopping this insane train wreck.

    September 20, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    just saying wrote:

    (translation: do what we say or we will come after you. we paid to put you there and we will pay to take you out. democrats have been put on notice.)
    ----------------------
    Do you believe that unions would support a party that has made every effort to break up unions and to end collective bargaining?

    September 20, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  19. kayla

    they don't have to worry about insurance, because they already have insurance that you and i pay for

    September 20, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  20. Data Driven

    @Lynda,

    "/cue the popcorn"

    Amen! I got a 10-lbs bag of kernels at home. Should be enough to get me through the GOP implosion with enough left over for popcorn-balls at Christmas. I think I'll lay out a pitcher of margaritas too. Now I just need to fix my 3-D goggles and I'm set. Maybe lay on steamed clams, guacamole, pigs-in-a-blanket. Maybe a DJ, because if it's worth doing, it's worth doing right. Party at my house! Watch the modern GOP die! Popcorn for all!

    September 20, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  21. Canuck

    While you Americans squabble about what is the best of your poor choices for health care up in Canada we have our universal health care and no one loses their home because they get sick.... just sayin'.

    September 20, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  22. freedom

    Unlike the sleazy democrats, the republicans are willing to stand for what is right to protect Americans, and deal with the heat. This president can't even do that – he's a coward.

    September 20, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
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