Credits: Karen Jaroch and Heritage Action Sentinel
INTRODUCING MORNING TEA
"When you look at the world today,
What is your point of view?"…
The 115th session of Congress gets seated Jan 3rd, 2017. There is a clear path to get a repeal bill to President-elect Trump's desk to sign on inauguration day using the process known as budget reconciliation. It is how Obamacare was passed into law in the first place! We could use your help getting the message out from now until January 3. Please call, email and/or tweet your member of Congress and let them know you expect them to prioritize repealing Obamacare when the get back in January. The email below provides background on the process along with the attachment that has some helpful definitions and another with contact information that includes the 10 new members of Congress representing Florida.
I hope this message finds you well as we approach this joyous holiday season. While the Sentinel Call Notes follow, I have one important request: please be certain to contact your Representative before Christmas and tell them you fully expect them to Repeal Obamacare in full as their top priority when they return to Congress the first week of January. (Please note that I held this message until after the Christmas Holiday)
Having a majority is not enough, they must also have the WILL to carry through on this promise. Rest assured they hear daily from the other side. They will only find the courage they need if they hear from you!
With Congress returning to session on January 3rd we need to be prepped and ready to ensure full repeal of Obamacare and other conservative priorities happen in 2017!
Please read the call notes below.
Next week’s Sentinel Call is cancelled for the Holidays, but we’ll resume the call starting on January 2nd.
Florida Regional Coordinator
Obamacare “Two Budget” Repeal Strategy: Since 2010, Republicans promised to fully repeal Obamacare, campaigned on full repeal, and voted over 60 times to repeal parts or all of the disastrous healthcare law. Earlier this year, Congress used a filibuster-proof process known as budget reconciliation to pass an Obamacare repeal bill that was ultimately vetoed by the President. But now that voters elected to keep Republican majorities in both chambers of Congress and gave Republicans the White House, Congress can use the same budget reconciliation process to successfully and fully repeal Obamacare once and for all in a Trump administration. There are no more excuses to be had.
Thanks to conservatives who successfully prevented Congress from passing a fiscal year 2017 budget that failed to lower spending, Republicans can now use that same budget and reconciliation process to repeal Obamacare with a simple majority and have it ready for President-elect Trump to sign soon after he takes office. Ideally, Congress should pass a one-sentence reconciliation bill that fully repeals Obamacare and sends it to President Trump’s desk by inauguration. The next best option would be for Congress to take the reconciliation bill that was vetoed earlier this year (H.R. 3762), and pass it again with additional language repealing the Obamacare insurance mandates – a central reason health insurance premiums continue to rise. The third and minimal option would be for Congress to simply re-pass H.R. 3762, which does not include the repeal of insurance mandates and other important provisions.
Some members of Congress are expressing concerns about the ability to fully repeal Obamacare through the process of reconciliation because reconciliation must strictly deal with the budget. These concerns are misplaced for many reasons:
1.) First, all of Obamacare, including the insurance regulation provisions, have a budgetary impact. In fact, Obamacare insurance regulations are the main reason why premiums continue to rise and require taxpayer funded subsidies. This point is further underscored by the fact that the Obama administration argued insurance regulations are inseparable from the rest of Obamacare before the Supreme Court in King v. Burwell.
2.) Second, precedent already exists for a one-provision reconciliation bill that fully repeals a piece of legislation. Congress enacted welfare reform under Bill Clinton in 1996 by repealing the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) under Title IV-A of the Social Security Act in 1996 with one provision and enacting a single block grant under the new Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
3.) Third, if a senator raises a Byrd Rule point of order against a provision repealing the insurance regulations due to budgetary concerns, the Senate Parliamentarian’s word is not final. It is ultimately up to the presiding officer, and ultimately, the Senate as a whole. The parliamentarian is an employee of the Senate with the job of providing advice to the presiding officer on historical precedents, and the Senate could override this obstacle with a simple majority vote.
After Obamacare is completely repealed, Congress can then pass a second budget for fiscal year 2018 that lowers spending levels and achieves other conservative priorities. Republicans should debate and pass a series of conservative, free-market healthcare reforms that enact consumer choice, strengthen the doctor-patient relationship and lower costs. This two budget strategy will ensure that momentum for repeal does not stall. It also provides ample time for individuals who have insurance through the Obamacare exchanges to transition back to the individual market without losing coverage.
Thankfully, Republicans are beginning to unite around this strategy to ensure momentum for Obamacare repeal does not die. House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) told CQ, “I think having the opportunity to have two reconciliation bills as opposed to one, two reconciliation processes as opposed to one, is wise.” Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) also endorsed this strategy telling Politico it would be the best way to avoid a filibuster from Senate Democrats. Republicans have promised Obamacare repeal for five years and now possess the political capital to do it. The only remaining question is do they have the will to follow through. In Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s own words: “It’s (Obamacare repeal) pretty high on our agenda as you know. I would be shocked if we didn’t move forward and keep our commitment to the American people.”
The Budget: Each year Congress is required to pass a budget resolution that sets the parameters for the spending and tax bills under consideration. A congressional budget is not signed by the President into law, but rather sets spending levels to each Appropriations subcommittee each fiscal year. The president proposes his own budget and sends it to Congress for consideration, but Congress is not bound by these suggestions.
Regular Appropriations Bills: These are annual bills that spend or "appropriate" money. The appropriations process is divided into 12 different bills, each one under the purview of a different appropriations subcommittee. In theory, Congress considers these bills separately.
Omnibus Spending Bill: For a variety of reasons, Congress usually fails to pass the regular individual appropriations bill on time. Instead, Congress usually bundles all 12 spending bills into one large bill at the end of the fiscal year, known as an omnibus. These bills are thousands of pages long and normally impossible to fully read by members and their staff. As a result, omnibus bills are often filled with special interest provisions inserted at the last minute.
Continuing Resolution: As an alternative to passing an omnibus bill, Congress considers a continuing resolution (CR) to continue appropriations at the same levels as previously signed into law. At times, A CR will also make significant adjustments to specific spending programs or adding additional funding limitations (e.g. defunding Planned Parenthood, executive amnesty, etc.). A CR can extend funding for short periods of time or for an entire fiscal year. If Congress is backed up against a spending deadline, conservatives often push for a CR over an omnibus because it takes power away from the Appropriations Committees and avoids the danger of special interest provisions being inserted at the 11th hour.
Budget Reconciliation: A legislative process in the U.S. Senate that limits debate on the consideration of a budget to 20 hours, thereby eliminating the use of the filibuster. This allows the Senate to pass changes to the annual budget with a simple majority (51 votes).
Byrd Rule: A Senate rule that allows a Senator to raise a point of order against a legislative change to the budget during the reconciliation process if it significantly increases the federal deficit or is “extraneous” to the budget. It is then up to the Presiding Officer (Vice President) with the advice of the Senate Parliamentarian to acknowledge or ignore the objection.
Shell Budget: Effectively an empty budget bill used to enact policy change. In this case the repeal of Obamacare.
Consider sending the following tweet and add your member of Congress’ twitter handle so it will get to them:
Congress must act now to fully repeal Obamacare using budget reconciliation
Or Just use the information below:
FLORIDA 115th CONGRESSIONAL CONTACT LIST
Dist Email Party Phone Twitter Facebook
20 Alcee Hastings D (202) 225-1313
"The patriot volunteer, fighting for country and his rights, makes the most reliable soldier on earth."