Heritage Call Notes January 2017

 


1/9/2017 Call Notes

We are just under 2 weeks from Trump’s inauguration and the fight over repealing Obamacare is heating up. While the process can be confusing please take a look at the call notes below for clarification on how we can fully repeal Obamacare as quickly as possible.

If you have any questions please let me know!

Matthew Lauer
Deputy Director of Grassroots and Technology
T#: 202-548-5280

Call Notes 1/9

The House and Senate are both in session this week.

What to Expect Before Inauguration: Members of Congress have a busy schedule ahead of the inauguration as President-elect Donald J. Trump will be sworn into office on January 20th. During these next two weeks, Congress should prioritize making all the preparations necessary to fully repeal Obamacare soon after Trump is sworn into office. Last week, the House passed the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act (H.R. 26) by a vote of 237 to 187. Heritage Action key voted “YES” on the REINS Act since the bill increases accountability for and transparency in the federal regulatory process by requiring Congress to approve all new major regulations costing over $100 million a year. Also this week, Senate Republicans will begin eight hearings to confirm President-elect Trump’s cabinet for the next administration.

Click here to read Heritage Action’s key vote on the REINS Act.

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. Last 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.

The Senate will likely vote to pass the FY 2017 “shell” budget resolution this Wednesdaynight or early Thursday morning after a “vote-a-rama” on a marathon of controversial amendments intended to undermine the repeal effort. The House will vote later this week on that same budget resolution, which begins the process of budget reconciliation and sets up instructions for committees to repeal Obamacare. Unfortunately, the legislative process is moving too slow for an Obamacare repeal bill to be on President-elect Trump’s desk on day one. Conservatives need to continue pushing for full repeal by contacting their member of Congress and by writing letters to the editor. Sentinels have already published 25 letters to the editor over the last two weeks but we must continue to beat the drum as our work is far from over.

According to news reports, Republican leaders are attempting to reserve funding for an Obamacare replacement plan in the FY 2017 budget resolution instead of using all the savings from repealing Obamacare to reduce the federal deficit. The FY 2017 budget is a “shell budget” and should simply be used as a procedural vehicle to begin the process of repealing Obamacare. Congress should reject this Obamacare replacement “slush fund” and focus its efforts on replacement after full repeal.

Some Republicans are posturing that they may oppose Obamacare repeal unless it is replaced first or at the same time. But holding Obamacare repeal hostage for replace guarantees its defeat since Democrats will never vote to repeal Obamacare and Republicans may disagree on an enormous thousand-plus-page replacement bill. This is exactly what President Obama and Senate Democrats want Republicans to do in order to ensure Obamacare repeal never happens.

The better way forward is for Congress to repeal Obamacare and then debate and pass a series of conservative, free-market healthcare reforms that enact consumer choice, strengthen the doctor-patient relationship and lower costs. After Obamacare is fully repealed, Congress can then pass a second budget for fiscal year 2018 that lowers spending levels and achieves other conservative priorities. 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.

Click here to read vice president of research at the Heritage Foundation James Wallner’s op-ed entitled “Holding Obamacare Repeal Hostage for Replace Guarantees Its Defeat.” Click here to read Senator Mike Lee’s (R-UT) op-ed on how to repeal Obamacare the right way.

Earmarks: A week after the resounding election of a President who campaigned to “drain the swamp” and end cronyism in Washington, D.C., Republicans in Congress attempted to lift the six-year old ban on earmarks behind closed doors. Earmarks are a form of pork-barrel spending politicians use to pass bad spending bills and redirect taxpayer dollars back to their own districts or states. Republican members including Reps. John Culberson of Texas, Mike Rogers of Alabama, Tom Rooney of Florida and Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania were the four leading proponents of lifting the ban.

Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham issued a statement against lifting the ban before the vote took place. According to multiple news reports, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) tabled the earmark proposal just before it was about to pass, but Ryan promised to create an internal working group to study the issue and propose a way forward by March 31next year. Conservatives must continue to hold the line on earmarks and be prepared to fight for its defeat early next year. Sentinels are urged to encourage their congressmen to support the current ban on earmarks.

Click here to read Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham’s full statement on preserving the earmark ban.


1/5/2017 Call Notes

What to Expect Before Inauguration: Members of Congress have a busy schedule ahead of the inauguration as President-elect Donald J. Trump will be sworn into office on January 20th. During these next three weeks, Congress should prioritize making all the preparations necessary to fully repeal Obamacare soon after Trump is sworn into office. This week, House Republicans will vote on the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act. Congress should vote in favor of this bill as it would increase accountability for and transparency in the federal regulatory process by requiring Congress to approve all new major regulations costing over $100 million a year. Senate Republicans will also be busy confirming President-elect Trump’s cabinet for his new administration.

 

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. Last 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.

 

According to news reports, Republican leaders are attempting to reserve funding for an Obamacare replacement plan in the FY 2017 budget resolution instead of using all the savings from repealing Obamacare to reduce the federal deficit. The FY 2017 budget is a “shell budget” and should simply be used as a procedural vehicle to begin the process of repealing Obamacare. Congress should reject this Obamacare replacement “slush fund” and focus its efforts on replacement after full repeal.

 

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 reformsthat 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.

 

Despite the apparent unification among Republicans, full repeal of Obamacare is not certain. Sentinels must continue pushing for full repeal by contacting their member of Congress and by writing letters to the editor. Sentinels have already published twenty-one letters to the editor over the last two weeks but we must continue to beat the drum as our work is far from over.

 

Click here to read President of the Heritage Foundation Senator Jim DeMint’s op-ed entitled “Obamacare Repeal Must Be on Day One: Congress Has No Excuses.” Click here to read Heritage Action’s detailed memo on “How to Repeal All of Obamacare by Inauguration.”

 

Earmarks: A week after the resounding election of a President who campaigned to “drain the swamp” and end cronyism in Washington, D.C., Republicans in Congress attempted to lift the six-year old ban on earmarks behind closed doors. Earmarks are a form of pork-barrel spending politicians use to pass bad spending bills and redirect taxpayer dollars back to their own districts or states. Republican members including Reps. John Culberson of Texas, Mike Rogers of Alabama, Tom Rooney of Florida and Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania were the four leading proponents of lifting the ban.

 

Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham issued a statement against lifting the ban before the vote took place. According to multiplenews reports, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) tabled the earmark proposal just before it was about to pass, but Ryan promised to create an internal working group to study the issue and propose a way forward by March 31 next year. Conservatives must continue to hold the line on earmarks and be prepared to fight for its defeat early next year. Sentinels are urged to encourage their congressmen to support the current ban on earmarks.

 

Click here to read Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham’s full statement on preserving the earmark ban.

 

Two-Speech Rule: In November 2013, Senate Democrats used the so-called “nuclear option” to eliminate the ability of Senators to filibuster all federal administrative appointments and judicial nominees with the exception of Supreme Court nominees. Now that Republicans maintained their Senate majority and won the White House, some are calling for Senate Republicans to use the nuclear option to confirm President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court and pass many upcoming conservative legislative priorities. However, other procedural means exist to move conservative priorities through the Senate without using the nuclear option.

 

Senate Republicans should move forward by enforcing the so-called “two-speech rule” as a strategy to move their conservative agenda. Under Senate rules, each Senator is limited to a maximum of two floor speeches in the same legislative day. A legislative day begins when the Senate meets after an adjournment and ends when the Senate adjourns next, which could last as short as one day or as long as multiple months.

 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) could use the “two-speech rule” to evade a Senate Democratic filibuster and confirm a conservative justice or pass legislation with a simple majority. This strategy would allow Senate Republicans to push through their agenda without changing any of the Senate’s existing rules. It would also clearly demonstrate to the American people that the Senate minority is being obstructionist and playing politics instead of doing its job.

 

Click here to read more about the two-speech strategy on the Daily Signal.

Let’s get this year off on the right start! It’s time to repeal Obamacare once and for all. Will you write a letter to the Editor? Let me know if you need help. If you truly want to drain the swamp, don’t fall for the cult of personality. Accountability is the key to success!

Sincerely,

Melody

(202) 716-9738

Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator

Follow us on Twitter: @Heritage_Action and me, @TheRightMelody.  Our hashtag is #Haction.

melody.clarke@heritageaction.com

P.S.: Here’s how you can be part of the Obamacare #FullRepeal TweetFest this Friday afternoon –

Please join conservative activists nationally for a #FullRepeal tweetfest on Friday, January 6th from 12:00 to 2:00 EST. The Tweetfest will be directed at Congress to support a full repeal of Obamacare and not to cave to pressure for anything less.

Please join Heritage Action, Sentinels and conservatives nation-wide on this important effort.

Promotional Graphics:

Resources:

Image Dropbox: (more images coming later) https://www.dropbox.com/sh/wkelopmpb9wfvs1/AADOsXdBsOKnoSHCd3z5VDUra?dl=0

Memo: http://heritageaction.com/2016/12/heritage-action-memo-repeal-obamacare-inauguration/

Path to Repeal Blog: http://heritageaction.com/sentinel-professionals/congress-fully-repeal-obamacare-budget-reconciliation/

Solutions Blog: http://heritageaction.com/sentinel-professionals/potential-solutions-health-care-reform-post-obamacare/

 

 

Sample Tweets:

  • [MEMBER TWITTER HANDLE] , Obamacare is hurting Americans. Now is the time for #FullRepeal. Will you stand strong?

  • Using a two budget strategy ensures there’s no delay and no excuses – it’s time for #FullRepeal of Obamacare http://bit.ly/2haJJJI

  • GOP can fulfill promise for #FullRepeal of Obamacare – including insurance mandates – by taking bold action http://bit.ly/2hRuIgz

  • The American people are close to taking back their health care. It’s time for #FullRepeal http://bit.ly/2i3T8PY

  • Lawmakers have voted over 60 times on repealing Obamacare. The time for #FullRepeal is NOW. http://bit.ly/2haJJJI

  • There’s no excuse not to do #FullRepeal. Two budget process can create smooth transition process post-Obamacare http://bit.ly/2hRnNUJ

 

 

 

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