April 24, 2017
When members of Congress fly back to D.C. today, they'll have some interesting reading material: a new Obamacare replacement bill. After a seesaw month that saw Republicans write and rewrite the text, the GOP is hinting that it may have the plan voters are waiting for. In the language that ping-ponged over to the House from the Senate Budget Committee Saturday night, conservatives will be happy to know that the plan empties more than $390 million from Planned Parenthood's federal bank account.
And the savings in human life is only part of the equation. Under this text, the costs passed on to everyday Americans -- which was the major sticking point for the House Freedom Caucus -- would also come down. No wonder President Trump was tweeting over the weekend. "Obamacare is in serious trouble," he posted. "The Dems need big money to keep it going -- otherwise it dies far sooner than anyone would have thought." For Republicans, who've tried for eight years to undo the law strangling our economy, the compromise language can't come soon enough. Just shy of Trump's 100 days in office, the House can kick off debate on a bill that finally ends the forced partnership between taxpayers and Planned Parenthood. Finally, Congress would redirect that money to community health centers, who serve almost 20 million more patients than Cecile Richards's group -- and offer a lot more life preserving services in the process!
And for the nervous insiders out there who know that the pro-life language has to be ruled germane by the parliamentarian, this text is identical to the provision that complied with the Senate's Byrd Rule two years ago. What's more, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) also stamps out the employer and individual mandate fines, which would finally give people the right to stop offering or buying coverage that violates their conscience. As far as the other pro-life provisions go, there are abortion restrictions on tax credits, the Patient and State Stability Fund, and the Federal Invisible Risk Sharing Program. All in all, it's a slam dunk for protecting human life. Even better, we're confident that these funding bans are budgetary, which would help them survive any challenge under the Byrd Rule. If, by some change, the Senate parliamentarian rules that they don't qualify under the Byrd test, we won't support the bill.
For now, though, we applaud the conservative members who have been working around the clock to ensure that the replace portions of the repeal bill are not only pro-life but pro-family. The liberal media thinks GOP leaders don't have the time or the stomach to tackle Obamacare this week. But if there's one thing this president relishes, it's proving his critics wrong. Help conservatives push this eight-year goal across the finish line and give the country a victory almost a decade in the making! Click here to contact your member of Congress and urge them to back the AHCA!
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.