Dan Holler, spokesman for Heritage Action for America, said over the summer that the Oct. 1 start date for exchanges made the continuing resolution the appropriate vehicle to fight for a dismantling of the law, given that funding for the government was set to expire the same day.
Republican Policy Committee Chairman James Lankford on Monday said the date was indeed important to Republican efforts.
“I think it’s why the focus is so much on now,” the Oklahoma Republican said. “Obviously we’ve done 40 votes over the course of the last three years to try to deal with this a piece at a time, when it wasn’t critical. Everyone talks about, ‘Now we’re in a crisis, why are we doing it now?’ and I said, ‘We tried to do this in a non-crisis form for three years,’ so now we gotta get there. We gotta say to the Senate, ‘We’re serious about this.’ Now’s the moment.”
“I always thought this was our best ground to fight it on,” Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., said Saturday about tying the Obamacare defunding language to the CR.
Lankford and Huelskamp said it was important to keep fighting and said they didn’t see the crusade diminishing.
It was a sentiment echoed by many GOP lawmakers on Monday, as the House Republican Conference continued to look for ways to unravel various parts of the health care law as part of the CR.
And in the words of one House GOP leadership aide, the fight may have just gotten easier: “People will actually see how bad it is.”
But Democrats indicated Monday that they believe their ability to beat back legislation intended to undermine the law would pay dividends, now that many of the Affordable Care Act provisions are going into effect.
“We are not going to mess around with Obamacare, no matter what they do. They have got to get a life,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said. “The exchanges are coming on board tomorrow. It is just like Social Security, it’s just Medicare. You know, Republicans hated those two programs, but now they are so popular with everybody, and give it a little bit of time, Obamacare will be supported by 90 percent of the American people, just like Medicare.”
Leaders from military and veterans service organizations joined Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Kelly Ayotte , R-N.H., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., at a press conference to urge the Senate to replace a provision in the budget proposal that cuts retirement benefits for veterans. Wicker, Ayotee, and Graham earlier called for a bipartisan solution to replace the $6.3 billion in cuts to military retiree benefits.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.