A GOP effort to repeal part of Obamacare that could get farther than any prior attempt is being opposed by the major conservative group for not going far enough to dismantle the law. Heritage Action for America — the lobbying arm of the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation — issued a statement threatening to consider the vote on the House bill, expected Friday, a key vote for conservative members.
In the statement, communications director Dan Holler accused GOP leadership of “putting their members in a terrible position,” as the legislation leaves in place some aspects of Obamacare, and argued that by voting in favor of the bill, Republicans are “undermining any serious effort to repeal the law in 2017.”
The repeal legislation, Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act, is being brought through a legislative procedure known as budget reconciliation, which only requires a simple majority to advance in the Senate and thus could overcome Democratic opposition to land on President Obama’s desk. However, the maneuver is only workable, under parliamentary rules, if it reduces the deficit and a full-on Obamacare repeal would add $353 billion to the deficit, the Congressional Budget Office has found. So Republicans are targeting only certain aspects of the law — such as the individual and employer mandates — that, if repealed, would reduce the deficit. It would also almost certainly be vetoed by the president.
The Heritage Action statement reflects trouble ahead for GOP leaders, who had hoped the vote on partial repeal would be enough to quell shutdown-hungry conservative hardliners ahead of a number of high-stakes fiscal deadlines. The legislation would also only partially block Planned Parenthood’s federal funding, the source of the most recent shutdown scare.
By making the vote a “key vote,” Heritage Action would use the vote in scoring the relative conservatism of GOP lawmakers.
Holler called budget reconciliation a “process that lacks the necessary leverage to ensure the president eventually signs the bill into law.”