Family Research Council

July 23, 2013 - Tuesday

Open Mike: Lee Sounds off on ObamaCare

After a nudge from President Obama, Hollywoodis learning its lines -- on ObamaCare. Desperate to get more Americans on board with its increasingly unpopular law, the White House is meeting with celebrities about a new script on health care before the state insurance exchanges kick off on October 1. According to CNN, senior advisors have already met with Amy Poehler, Jennifer Hudson, Oprah Winfrey, Jon Bon Jovi, Alicia Keys, Will Farrell, and others who "expressed an interest in helping to educate the public about the benefits of the new health law."

For HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the PR effort for ObamaCare has already been a major production. As The Hill explained last month, the agency was already trying to score points for the law through partnerships with the NBA and NFL. So far, neither of the deals -- which would openly politicize two of America's biggest sports leagues -- is final.

Fortunately for voters, House and Senate conservatives are putting together their own team to block the law so many Americans despise. Banking on the President's plummeting approval ratings (41%) and the outcry over ObamaCare's early effects, Republican Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) is leading the charge to starve the bill in the next budget resolution. "This is the last stop before ObamaCare fully kicks in on January 1 of next year for us to refuse to fund it," Lee said on "Fox and Friends." "Congress, of course, has to pass a law to continue funding government. Lately we've been doing that through a funding mechanism called a continuing resolution [or CR]. If Republicans in both houses simply refuse to vote for any continuing resolution that contains future funding for further enforcement of ObamaCare, we can stop it. We can stop the individual mandate from going into effect."

Plenty of his colleagues agree. Already, Lee has two of the top three ranking Senate Republicans on board, including Whip John Cornyn (Texas) and Senator John Thune (S.D.). Another big-name conservative, Senator Marco Rubio (Fla.) refused to give a single penny to the President's health care money pit. "I will not vote for a continuing resolution unless it defunds ObamaCare," he told a crowd two weeks ago. "You want to delay implementation? Don't fund it." With so many Senators willing to go "all in" on the proposal, Senator Lee is confident he could find the votes to keep a filibuster going. While we applaud the bill, the Senate must also take action to protect conscience rights -- which this proposal does not do.

In the House, the drumbeat to kill ObamaCare is nothing new. Last week, the chamber took its 39th vote to repeal all or part of the health care law since Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) gaveled in his majority. Now conservatives are asking House leaders to put it all on the line and use the power of the purse to suffocate ObamaCare before it takes effect. Sixty-four Republicans, prompted by FRC's good friend Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), signed a letter urging Speaker Boehner not to bring any legislation to the floor that funds ObamaCare.

"More and more Americans are feeling [ObamaCare's] impact," they write, "from job losses and part-time downgrades, to insurance policy changes and violations of religious liberties, to state budget strains caused by Medicaid expansions. ...Since much of the implementation of ObamaCare is a function of the discretionary appropriations process... and since most of the citizens we represent believe ObamaCare should never go into effect, we urge you to affirmatively defund the implementation and enforcement of ObamaCare in any relevant appropriations bill brought to the House floor."

With news that the law will cost almost triple what the President promised, conservatives are right to demand a "redress of every grievance," as Congressman Meadows puts it. "I've got a little over 1,200 days left in office," President Obama reminded people yesterday. If conservatives can stand their ground, ObamaCare could be gone before he is!

Poll Brings Photographers' Plight into Focus

Liberals and conservatives may not see eye to eye on same-sex "marriage," but they certainly agree that wedding vendors shouldn't have to participate in them! In a new Rasmussen poll, even 77% of Democrats agreed that Christian photographers should have the right to turn down a homosexual "wedding" request. The two sides are overwhelmingly supportive of religious liberty on the question of wedding services -- with Republicans nearly unanimous (96%) in their backing.

Even more interesting, atheists -- who have never been proponents of religious freedom -- seem surprisingly sympathetic to the plight of Christian businessmen. Eight-eight percent of the non-faith contingent said companies like Elane Photography, whose case is currently before the New Mexico Supreme Court, should have the ability to say "no" to customers who want them to take pictures of a ceremony they oppose.

HotAir.com is as stunned as others by the sweeping consensus. "I haven't seen many polls on this particular question, but if [Rasmussen] is right that we're looking at a spread of upwards of 80 points, then national Democrats will stay far away from this topic. Critics of [same-sex 'marriage'] argue that the slippery slope has no stopping point, but 85/8 would seem to have plenty of stopping power." If you missed my interview on CBS's "Face the Nation" on this same topic, click here.

The Importance of Being Ernest

Speaking of stopping power, a San Diego County clerk is using his to put the brakes on the premature redefining of marriage in California. Ernest Dronenburg seems to understand what many California officials don't: Judge Vaughn Walker's decision to impose same-sex "marriage" (which is the only ruling left standing after the Supreme Court's action) only applies to his own jurisdiction -- California's northern district. Dronenburg, like many clerks, is unclear why San Diego would have to issue same-sex "marriage" licenses if it falls outside the scope of Walker's ruling.

Unfortunately, that's just one of the messes left behind by the U.S. Supreme Court when five justices refused to grant standing to California's Prop 8 supporters. Since the Court vacated the Ninth Circuit Court decision, the only ruling left standing was that of Walker, an open homosexual activist. Even the local press is confused by the practical effects of the justices' decision. From Mercury News: "Supporters of Proposition 8 contend that Walker's injunction applied at most to two counties -- Los Angeles and Alameda -- because they were the only two counties named in the injunction and in the lawsuit challenging the ballot measure." State Attorney General Kamala Harris, meanwhile, insists that any official -- including Dronenburg -- who stands in the way of homosexuals "marrying" is guilty of "unconstitutional interference."

FRC's Ken Klukowski disagrees, and says that neither Harris nor Gov. Jerry Brown have the authority to force Dronenburg to issue "marriage" licenses to same-sex couples. "County clerks don't answer to the Governor," Ken explains -- which may be why several California counties are refusing to perform same-sex "marriages." "They are free to refuse." For now, Dronenberg will wait on the courts, where he's filed a suit asking the judges to stop same-sex "weddings."


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

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