Morning Action: Democrats’ Obamacare Flip-Flop
DEMOCRAT DELAY. The Wall Street Journal explains (sub. req’d) that after weeks of refusing to delay Obamacare, which was clearly not ready for prime time, many Democrats are changing their tone, a trend that started with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) 2% on Tuesday:
The New Hampshire senator fundamentally altered the health-care fight on Tuesday with a letter to the White House demanding it both extend the ObamaCare enrollment deadline and waive tax penalties for those unable to enroll. Within nanoseconds, Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor had endorsed her “common-sense idea.” By Wednesday night, five Senate Democrats were on board, pushing for . . . what’s that dirty GOP word? Oh, right. “Delay.”
After 16 long days of vowing to Republicans that they would not cave in any way, shape or form on ObamaCare, Democrats spent their first post-shutdown week caving in every way, shape and form. With the GOP’s antics now over, the only story now is the unrivaled disaster that is the president’s health-care law.
Hundreds of thousands of health-insurance policies canceled. Companies dumping coverage and cutting employees’ hours. Premiums skyrocketing. And a website that reprises the experience of a Commodore 64. As recently as May, Democratic consultants were advising members of Congress that their best ObamaCare strategy for 2014 was to “own” the law. Ms. Shaheen has now publicly advised the consultants where they can file that memo.
It’s just too bad Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) 13% and the Democrats didn’t vote to fund the government and defund or delay Obamacare as the Republicans did. Instead, Democrats insisted on shutting down the government to try to save this failed law, and all the while, President Obama insisted he would refuse to negotiate on the matter.
The Washington Post reports that 10 Senate Democrats have signed the Shaheen letter calling for an extension of the open enrollment period for Obamacare:
The signatories to the letter are Shaheen and Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Hagan (D-N.C.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.).
Begich, Pryor, Landrieu and Hagan are all top GOP targets in red states in 2014, and Bennet is likely to be targeted in 2016. (Shaheen and Mark Udall face reelection in swing states in 2014 but aren’t considered among Republicans’ top targets.)
An extension of the open enrollment period will not fix Obamacare, though. Obamacare is unworkable and unaffordable — and it has already harmed thousands of Americans.
SEQUESTER. Heritage explains that the sequester cuts are now hitting Obamacare:
Remember sequestration? Those automatic budget cuts that went into effect when Congress failed to do real budgeting a couple of years ago? It’s hitting Obamacare now.
Both laws have been around for awhile, but the Obama Administration hasn’t done anything to prepare for their collision.
The cuts are hitting a set of subsidies that were supposed to help pay deductibles and co-pays for lower-income Americans with Obamacare coverage. An Obama official pledged there would be a plan before the Obamacare exchanges opened on October 1, but that didn’t happen.
AMNESTY. According to reports, House Republican leadership has no plans to vote on an immigration reform bill before the end of the year:
The House has just 19 days in session before the end of 2013, and there are a number of reasons why immigration reform is stalled this year.
Following the fiscal battles last month, the internal political dynamics are tenuous within the House Republican Conference. A growing chorus of GOP lawmakers and aides are intensely skeptical that any of the party’s preferred piecemeal immigration bills can garner the support 217 Republicans — they would need that if Democrats didn’t lend their votes. Republican leadership doesn’t see anyone coalescing around a single plan, according to sources across GOP leadership. Leadership also says skepticism of President Barack Obama within the House Republican Conference is at a high, and that’s fueled a desire to stay out of a negotiating process with the Senate. Republicans fear getting jammed.
Other prominent immigration supporters like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) have also backed off any deal, saying the Obama administration has “undermined” negotiations by not defunding his signature health care law. Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) went further, saying Obama is trying to “destroy the Republican Party” and that GOP leaders would be “crazy” to enter into talks with Obama.
The Heritage Foundation notes that by focusing on amnesty, President Obama is not responding to the wishes of the American people:
Obama’s decision to take on the contentious issue of amnesty comes at a time when most Americans want Washington to focus on the economy and federal budget deficit. Just 3 percent of Americans identified immigration as the most important problem facing the country, according to Gallup’s poll this month.
But it remains a priority for the President and other supporters of amnesty for illegal immigrants, who are organizing an event to pressure conservative lawmakers on Capitol Hill next week. Obama took aim at his political adversaries in today’s remarks.
“It’s up to Republicans in the House to decide whether reform becomes a reality or not,” Obama said, according to the Daily Caller’s Neil Munro.
Elsewhere they note that if the House and Senate were to go to conference with the flawed Senate amnesty bill, dangerous policies would result:
Even if the perfect bill went into a conference with the Senate bill, many good policies would be stripped out and many dangerous policies (such as mass amnesty) would likely be added in.