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Now that the Continuing Resolution has been returned to the House of Representatives with funding restored for Obamacare, the Republicans are faced with a choice. Do they press for defunding now, with the strong possibility of a fight over a government shutdown, or instead push for a delay of the implementation of Obamacare?
In a conference call on Friday, several GOP reps signaled that they are going to push for the latter strategy. Sean Duffy (R-WI), Tom Reed (R-NY), and Rodney Davis (R-IL) discussed their plans to push for a 1 year delay in implementation of Obamacare, while simultaneously pressing for a "Fair CR" that would remove exemptions granted to members and employees of Congress and the White House.
Rep. Duffy explained that now that the effort to defund Obamacare was unsuccessful, the choice is whether to "kick the can" to the looming debate over the debt ceiling in November, or take action now. Republicans were scheduled to meet on Saturday to determine the strategy, but Duffy stated he is more committed than ever to delaying Obamacare. "Polls show us two very clear things - the American people want us to continue to fight, and our constituents do not want us to shut down the government."
Rep. Reed said that he would be introducing legislation that he's calling the "Fair CR" that would keep government open while delaying Obamacare for one year. “Our ‘Fair CR’ takes the reasonable approach to Obamacare that the American people are asking for by eliminating special exemptions and providing a one year delay of the President’s health care law – all while keeping the government open,” Congressman Reed said. “It’s not fair for Congress, congressional staff, and members of the Executive branch like the President and Vice President to receive special exemptions from Obamacare. What is fair is listening to the American people and giving them a one year delay of Obamacare. The President has already delayed his law for big business, it’s now time to give all Americans that same relief.”
Rep. Davis expressed the strong desire among the group to keep the government open without sacrificing their principles and values. "These perpetual end of year fiscal crises need to stop," he said. "We need to get back to a constitutional appropriations process. This reliance on CR's is the wrong way to go, and it gives too much leverage to the Democrats."
When asked about the recent Rasmussen poll showing that a majority of Americans want Obamacare defunded even if it means a partial government shutdown, both Duffy and Reed stated that a strong majority of their constituents had told them that they don't want to see a shutdown. Duffy said that in two recent constituent coffees, as well as correspondence with his office, his constituents were adamant that they don't want a shutdown.
As of now, it appears that the GOP strategy has been chosen. They remain committed to fighting Obamacare - it remains to be seen how effective the strategy will be.