Family Research Council

September 16, 2013 - Monday

ObamaCare in Graves Danger?

Just because some Americans don't have health insurance doesn't mean they want President Obama's! New polling suggests that ObamaCare isn't exactly gaining fans -- even among the people it was designed to help. Regardless of the White House's $700 million PR blitz, time isn't dulling the disgust most Americans feel toward the President's signature policy.

Three years after it was signed into law, most adults are still opposed, confused -- or both! Seventy percent admitted that they didn't understand the health care overhaul, which is only fueling the hostility most Americans feel toward the system. Animosity is at an all-time high, as 53% say they disapprove of the law just weeks before its official launch. Only 31% of the country thinks the President's health care takeover was a good idea -- a healthy decline from the law's glory days. Now, as more Americans see the consequences (Trader Joe's is the latest company to cut part-timers from its health care plans), people are becoming more and more skeptical.

In what spells failure for the Obama administration, only 12% believe the law will have a positive effect on their lives. The other 88% includes some House Republicans, who are fighting with every weapon at their disposal to beat back this attack on American freedom. Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.) is the latest conservative with a plan to save the nation from impending disaster. Together with 42 House cosponsors, he's introduced a budget plan that would not only defund ObamaCare -- but avoid the predictable spat over a government shutdown. His Security, Stability, and Fairness Resolution spares the GOP another round of the political blame game, giving them a reasonable and easy way to explain how to stop this "train wreck." Under the bill, conservatives would be putting a short-term government funding bill on the table (a continuing resolution, or CR) that keeps everything in Washington running -- except ObamaCare. Graves's version of the CR doesn't include a single cent for ObamaCare.

Over in the Senate, Graves's allies are cheering the proposal on. "The House should pass this legislation immediately and send it to the Senate." In Sen. Mike Lee's (R-Utah) office, the mood was defiant. "This is exactly what we've been talking about from day one. There has never, ever, ever been any proposal from Ted Cruz or Mike Lee to shut down the functions of government. That was just the media. There's no sneaky vote." So far, the House leadership hasn't decided whether to put the full weight of the majority behind the bill. (Help them make up their minds! Contact your congressman and ask him to sign on to the Graves alternative.)

Meanwhile, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) continues to be the one thing standing in the way of the Senate and the looming energy bill. His one-man stand started last week when Sen. Vitter decided to use procedural maneuvers to point out a major discrepancy in the ObamaCare law. On one hand, the Left is lobbying to keep the law, and on the other, it's trying to protect certain people from the damage it will cause. Sen. Vitter wants to hold up a vote on the energy bill until most of the federal government -- including administrative and White House officials -- are switched onto the ObamaCare exchanges.

As it stands, lawmakers and other federal officials will still receive insurance with federal aid "after they switch from their government plans to the exchanges." This "special subsidy," as conservatives are calling it, helps protect members from the full force of ObamaCare. Among other things, Vitter's amendment would block tax credits for the Hill and also require the President and Vice President to share in the same health insurance. "All I'm asking for is a vote," said Sen. Vitter. Like us, he's tired of the double standard.

Maybe Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) didn't need to know "what's in it," because her party just planned to exempt themselves from it! Either way, the inequity isn't going over well with the grassroots. Frustrated by the attention Sen. Vitter's crusade is getting, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) tried dredging up the Senator's past to deflect the bill. When that didn't work, she just lashed out. "If the senator doesn't want to have health care here, take yourself out of it," she said. "but to see a good bill like this... get derailed because someone wants to attack working people is unfortunately, absolutely unfortunate."

The only thing attacking working people, as the AFL-CIO pointed out, is ObamaCare! So we applaud Sen. Vitter for trying to ensure that the people responsible for the health care law get a taste of their own medicine.

State Department Cries Wolf on Special Envoy

Most members can probably count on one hand the number of times a Republican bill has gotten 100% Democratic support. The last time might have been Rep. Frank Wolf's (R-Va.) measure to appoint a special envoy for religious liberty focused exclusively on Central America and the Middle East. In 2011, Wolf's idea was so popular that it passed 402-20. So why is it that two years later the Senate hasn't held a single vote on the measure? Ask the State Department. It recruited former Sen. Jim Webb to block the proposal, even as both regions explode in faith-based turmoil.

Since then, over one hundred Catholics have been killed by Iraqi extremists inside parishes or while attending religious services within a period of mere weeks. Coptic Christian men, women, and children became victims of bloody massacres in Egypt where suicide bombers targeted their churches and neighborhoods on multiple occasions. In Syria, Christians caught in the civil war have been harassed and killed, while their ancient churches burn to the ground. Never has there been a greater need for freedom's voice to speak into the darkness of persecution.

As FRC said in a letter to members of Congress, "Providing a representative to the Near East and South Central Asia who focused exclusively on these issues, is a direct way to communicate that these egregious acts of religious violence are morally unacceptable and at odds with the strategic interests of the United States." Congressman Wolf's bill would take a critical step toward protecting the vulnerable religious minorities in each of these volatile countries.

In reopening the debate, Rep. Wolf pointed back to the President's own comments on religious persecution. "We can't say 'never again' and then allow it to happen again, and as a president of the United States, I don't intend to abandon people or turn a blind eye to slaughter.'" "I wish," Wolf added, "and more importantly the suffering people of [the world] wish, we had seen an ounce of that moral clarity and conviction since you took office." Now's the time to push for that moral clarity.

Terror at the Navy Yard

While people in the nation's capital hunker down and await the end to today's shooting nightmare, we continue ask God's protection on the city and first responders. Our hearts go out to the victims' families and the brave men and women in uniform who worked to stop the attack. We ask that you join us in praying, not only for those directly touched by this tragedy, but for America, where senseless acts of violence like this have become all too common. May God's peace permeate the panic and confusion and give comfort to those nearby -- and may we all be reminded "that unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain" (Ps 127:1).

** Worshipping weekly is good for more than your soul! Find out why in a special Washington Times op-ed by FRC's own Dr. Pat Fagan, "Getting a Buzz from God."

*** For more on what the Air Force had to say to FRC about religious hostility in the military, check out the latest from Ken Klukowski, "Christian Leaders Meet with Pentagon on Religious Liberty Violations."

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

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