Dems Get Honorable Manchin in ObamaCare Fight
Lucky for D.C. tourists, the U.S. Capitol will not only be open for business this weekend -- it'll be operating under extended hours! Members, who are up against the clock on government and ObamaCare funding, decided to shelter in place until the threat of government shutdown passes. "It's like the Twilight Zone," one Hill staffer told FRC. As everyone expected, Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) held serial votes on the continuing budget (or CR) this afternoon, managing to strike the House's language on party lines and replace the bill with full ObamaCare funding. (Read FRC's score letter here.) The vote meant the short-term budget catapulted back to the House, a hive of activity where leaders are trying to patch together a strategy of next steps.
As of this morning, Republicans were still bouncing ideas off their conservative conference, including the plan to tie the debt ceiling to -- not only a one-year ObamaCare delay -- but conscience protections, tax reform, the Keystone pipeline, and an amendment to end special health care subsidies for Capitol Hill. Originally, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) had planned to introduce that deal today, but with some conservatives hoping for deeper concessions, leaders are taking a few days to try to woo the GOP holdouts. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ark.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas) took issue with the proposal's bottom line. "It does not cut spending significantly," insisted Brooks, "and it does not fix the problem."
Like other die-hard conservatives, the duo is hoping for a dollar-for-dollar increase on the debt limit: one dollar of spending cut for every dollar borrowed. Others want a permanent ObamaCare defund. Still more want to hold the line on the CR instead. For now, the $986 billion question is whether Speaker Boehner can cobble together a plan that keeps his conference together and strike a meaningful blow to the President's health care law in the process. In the meantime, Sen. Reid is leaving little to the imagination on his party's response. "We are not going to play their games... Send us a clear CR [that funds ObamaCare], a clean debt ceiling, that's the path forward. There is no need for conversations."
White House senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer had a more colorful response. "What we're not for is negotiating with people with a bomb strapped to their chests." And the Left complains about our rhetoric? Comparing the GOP to terrorists, arsonists, and later hostage takers, Pfeiffer's rant stunned viewers. In the shadow of last week's tragedy -- where innocent Americans died at the hands of real terrorism -- Pfeiffer's comments were an embarrassment to the administration he serves.
Fortunately for President Obama, the press is too busy covering Sen. Joe Manchin's defection to draw attention to Pfeiffer. Yesterday, Manchin surprised everyone by telling a crowd of Bloomberg reporters that although he wouldn't vote to shutdown the government, he would support a one-year delay in implementing ObamaCare's individual mandate. The mandate, which is the glue holding the policy together, has been a target of conservatives for months.
"There's no way I could not vote for it [a postponement]. It's very reasonable and sensible." Noting that the administration had already delayed other parts of the law, Manchin insisted, "Don't put the mandate on the American people right now. If you know you couldn't bring the corporate sector, you gave them a year, don't you think it'd be fair?" It was a gutsy move by Manchin, who is just one of the millions of Americans concerned about the law's debut next Tuesday.
With four days to go, let's hope Sen. Manchin isn't the only leader heeding the Senate chaplain's prayer this morning: "Lord, deliver us from governing by crisis, empowering us to be responsible stewards of your bounty, using judicious compromise for the mutual progress of all."
Exchange Is in the Air
Based on the latest analysis, defunding ObamaCare really is a matter of life and death. For more than 115,000 innocent children, the Affordable Care Act will be the most affordable way for them to be aborted. Chuck Donovan, who for years served as FRC's Executive Vice President, grabbed plenty of headlines -- including a spot on the Drudge Report -- with his expose on multi-state exchanges. As FRC has warned for more than three years, these exchanges are the path to the largest expansion of taxpayer-funded abortion in history. Chuck's piece bears that out, using the Left's own data to explain that while "state policies continue to develop and more states could conceivably block elective abortion in their exchanges, at present a majority of states (27) and the District of Columbia do not exclude elective abortion coverage from their exchanges."
By his calculations -- and those of other experts -- the data suggest that ObamaCare's annual net increase in insured abortions that are either fully publicly funded through Medicaid or heavily subsidized through the exchanges could be as high as 71,000 to 111,500..."
Let's face it. A great way to cut down on the number of abortions is to stop paying for them! And right now, that means standing between America and the President's terrible excuse for health care reform. Whatever our nation's differences on abortion, surely we can all agree that the federal government shouldn't subsidize it!
FRC Supporter Puts the Pedal to the Mettle
FRC's fiscal year ends on Monday and we still have a significant hill to climb to end the year in the black and strong for the coming year. Please pray for FRC and make a generous donation today. After giving, have you ever asked yourself, "What more can I do?" Well, meet Donna Neff (a wife and mother of two) from the Keystone state. Donna is gearing up for a 435 mile ride across Pennsylvania in an effort to raise awareness and money for FRC's work for "Faith, Marriage, and Family." Donna said of her upcoming ride, "I feel very strongly that we need to do everything possible to strengthen our marriages so families can thrive and grow with God's love. The increasing divorce rate and the moral decline of our society, has prompted me to take action." So, you might be asking -- short of putting on spandex and hitting the road -- "what more can I do?"
If Donna has inspired you into action, please prayerfully give consideration to partnering with her in reaching her goals. You can make a gift to FRC and follow her progress by visiting FRC.org/AcrossPenn. I know she would also deeply appreciate your prayers for a safe and successful ride. Thanks for encouraging us all, Donna. Ride On! Donna's Goal: Raise millions of prayers and $10,000 for FRC. Ride Dates: September 28 to October 5, 2013.
Viva LA Difference...
My home state of Louisiana has undergone a pretty remarkable transformation in the last 20 years. No longer is Louisiana the butt of the nation's jokes because of political corruption. Instead, we've become the envy of the nation because of the state's top ranking for its favorable economic environment. No longer is Louisiana gambling with our children's future -- rather, the state is pioneering new ways to give parents and their children real choice in education. A major factor in the change has been the involvement of pastors and their churches -- led by the Louisiana Family Forum, which has become one of the most influential organizations in the state. Yesterday, I had the privilege of addressing both groups. At a pastors' gathering, hosted by my friend David Lane, I spoke to a statewide gathering of pastors and introduced Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.). Later in the evening, I again joined Gov. Jindal and a large number of state legislators at the annual awards banquet of the Louisiana Family Forum, led by my long-time friend Gene Mills. Dozens of lawmakers were recognized last night for their pro-family votes. I presented the Life and Liberty Award to six of my former colleagues for outstanding legislative leadership. It was very encouraging to see how pastors and Christian citizens -- working together and standing for biblical truth -- have helped to turn the state around. State governments are definitely the front lines in changing our nation's public policy for the better, and whether you're a politician, pastor, or private citizen, I encourage you to get involved at the local level. I recently accepted a volunteer appointment by Governor Jindal to use my experience in the criminal justice system to serve on the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement in my spare time when I'm not in our nation's capital.
** The media is starting to pick up on the buzz surrounding this year's Values Voter Summit. Check out the Washington Times profile, "Inside the Beltway: Conservatives Value Their Values" and then register today for D.C.'s premiere conservative event!
*** In a land of "liberty" and "opportunity," it is hard to imagine a person's worth being assigned to him based on his ability. But that's exactly what we do, FRC's Anna Higgins explains, in certain abortions. Check out her new column, "One State Protects Unborn Children with Disabilities, to learn more."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.