WASHINGTON – Two family organizations, the Family Research Council and the Susan B. Anthony List, are backing Obamacare repeal legislation proposed by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Bill Cassidy, R-La., that would prohibit taxpayer funding of abortions.
The Graham-Cassidy repeal-and-replace bill would reapply the principle contained in the Hyde Amendment that abortion is not health care and should not be subsidized.
The measure essentially would provide states authority to design their own health-insurance systems. It would keep some of Obamacare’s regulations and taxes in place but redirect taxpayer funding away from organizations that provide abortions, such as Planned Parenthood.
It would also eliminate Obamacare mandates requiring most Americans to have some kind of health insurance or face a fine, as well as the requirement that forces large employers to offer health coverage to workers or pay a penalty.
The senators say that states could opt to keep their Obamacare programs or repeal and design an entirely new system.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins and SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser issued a joint statement Friday.
“We applaud Sens. Graham and Cassidy for their leadership and strongly endorse the bill they have crafted,” they said. “This legislation offers Republicans the best chance to fulfill their promises to repeal and replace Obamacare, stop taxpayer funding of abortion, and redirect tax dollars away from the nation’s largest abortion business, Planned Parenthood, to comprehensive health care alternatives.”
With the GOP in control of the House and Senate, Republican lawmakers have no excuse for not fulfilling the party’s five-year promise to overhaul Obamacare once and for all, Perkins and Dannenfelser argued.
“It is now well past time for Republicans in Congress to deliver on those promises. The Graham-Cassidy bill offers them the best chance to do that, with only 51 votes needed in the Senate to pass it before the September 30 deadline,” they said.
The prior Congress passed legislation to repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood that would have become law if not for President Obama’s veto, and now they have the support of President Trump.
“The pro-life majority controls both chambers of Congress and the White House. The GOP is without excuse. We urge them to keep their promise and repeal Obamacare and end the forced partnership between taxpayers and Planned Parenthood. Failure to keep their promise to voters will bring into question whether this Congress can truly be called the ‘pro-life Congress.’ Rhetoric must be translated into verifiable action.”
Republicans should be determined to repeal Obamacare, if for no other reason than to put an end to taxpayer subsidization of abortion, Perkins and Dannenfelser asserted.
“Should robust efforts to enact the Graham-Cassidy legislation though the FY2017 Reconciliation bill run out of time, then the fight to redirect funds from Planned Parenthood must move immediately to the FY2018 Tax Reconciliation bill. Planned Parenthood proudly self-reports taking the innocent lives of 328,348 unborn children last year and nearly one million over the past three years. That is 900 lives snuffed out before their first breath every single day by a single taxpayer-funded abortion chain. This tragedy is compounded every day that passes with inaction. The time for results is now. Lives depend on Congress’ leadership and action to enact the Graham-Cassidy bill.”
The GOP-controlled Senate has just 15 days to repeal and replace Obamacare without Democratic support. Republicans have sought to pass a health-care bill through the budget reconciliation process, which requires only 51 votes to advance a bill to a final vote. But the budget resolution passed earlier this year gave Republicans reconciliation privileges only until the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30.
Obamacare repeal legislation failed in July, obtaining only 49 votes. Three GOP senators voted no: Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.
Any repeal-and-replace bill after September would be subject to the Senate rule requiring 60 votes to end debate and hold an up-or-down floor vote.
While the White House’s messaging in recent weeks has been focused on revamping the U.S. tax code, devising a legislative fix for DACA and forging a deal with Democrats on immigration and border security, the president has repeatedly complained about congressional inaction on health care and has urged the GOP to vote on Obamacare repeal one more time.
Graham contends the president’s attention should be aimed towards repealing and replacing Obama’s signature legislation.
“For strong border security, I would be willing to let the DREAM Act kids have legal status. They have no place to go other than America. So border security for DACA kids, legal status, makes plenty of sense. I applaud the president wanting to try to fix this problem,” Graham said Thursday on Fox News, outlining the framework of a deal reportedly discussed Wednesday night between Trump and Democratic leaders in Congress.
But here’s what I tell the president. We’ve got six months to deal with the DREAM Act kids. You’ve got 17 days to repeal and replace Obamacare.”
Trump has applauded the Republican senators for working “toward a solution to relieve the disastrous Obamacare burden on the American people.”
“My administration has consistently worked to enact legislation that repeals and replaces Obamacare and that can pass the Senate and make it to my desk,” Trump said. “As I have continued to say, inaction is not an option, and I sincerely hope that Senators Graham and Cassidy have found a way to address the Obamacare crisis.”
According to the latest Politico-Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health poll, the majority of Republican voters agree with Graham.
When asked to rate the top 10 priorities for Congress through the end of the year, the majority of Republican respondents said repealing Obamacare is the most critical priority, eclipsing tax reform and building a border wall.
Fifty-three percent of Republican said repealing and replacing the law should be an “extremely important priority.” Twenty-six percent of Republican said it should be a “very important priority,” and only 16 percent said repealing the Affordable Care act should not be a priority.
Sixty percent of Democrats said a health-care overhaul should not be a priority. The most pressing issue was lowering prescription drug prices – 40 percent of overall respondent said it was an “extremely important” priority.
Graham called on Republican lawmakers to unify and work as aggressively to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act as Democrats did to implement it under Obama’s leadership.
It remains unclear whether GOP leadership intends to push the Graham-Cassidy bill, which has received a mixed response from Senate Republicans.
Cassidy predicted Friday that Republicans will pass Obamacare repeal before the Sept. 30 deadline and claims to have nearly assembled enough Republican support.
“I am pretty confident we’ll get there on the Republican side. People are coming out and saying they are for it, either publicly or privately,” Cassidy told reporters in his office. “We’re probably at 48-49 [votes] and talking to two or three more.”