Friday, 11 February 2011

Debate Over Government Shutdown if GOP Defunds HealthCare

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A day before a health care opponent DeFundIt.org called for a government shutdown, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga., left) told CNSNews.com (reported Feb. 10) that he’s committed to de-funding the national health care law. When asked if he thought the Obama Administration would shut down the government as a result, he said “it's in the hands of the President.” Rumors continue to surface that a government shutdown is possible.

Price, chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, was interviewed on Capitol Hill after addressing the “Ronald Reagan’s Vision and Policy Forum” held in honor of Reagan’s 100th birthday. In answer to the question of whether Senate Democrats would shut the government down to force Republicans to fund the law, he replied:

That’s a great question. That’s a question to ask them, obviously. What we want to do is make certain that the American people understand and appreciate that we’re putting every single ounce of energy we can into being certain that this law doesn’t come to pass in terms of activity on the American people. 

… I think that’s up to the president. If he wants to close down the government based on upon an unconstitutional law, then that’s his prerogative. We’re not interested in shutting down the government. What we’re interested in doing is solving the challenges that we face based upon fundamental principles in the area of health care and elsewhere.

As a physician, I can tell you that it’s destructive to the quality of health care, that it limits accessibility to health care and that it increases costs for virtually every single American out there so it’s incumbent upon us to be responsible and represent our constituents and make certain that it doesn’t get enacted.

He added that he’s personally committed to a continuous de-funding of the law, assuming the Senate sends back to the House any appropriations bills that include funding:

I’m committed to doing everything we can to make certain that the destructive aspects of the bill, which are virtually the entire thing, never come to pass on the American people.

Whether that means de-funding, whether that means repealing portions of it or the entire thing, whether that means assisting and working with friends of the court with amicus briefs to make certain that our voice is heard in the court challenges and putting forth positive alternatives to make certain that people know that there are wonderful solutions to the challenges that we face on health care that don’t require putting the government in charge.

DeFundIt.Org, is an initiative of the Restore the Dream Foundation, a non-profit committed to limited government and free markets, and is calling on congressional Republicans to allow a government shutdown if that’s what it takes to cut off funding. Today the group, best known for persuading last fall’s congressional candidates to promise a funding cutoff, is distributing a guide on Capitol Hill presenting strategies for de-funding. The guide posits that the risk of a government shutdown is worth the taking. The group’s chairman said the guide is going out to every member of Congress who opposes the law.

DeFundIt is not the only entity believing the law is unconstitutional.

CNSNews also asked Price about the ruling of Federal Judge Roger Vinson in Florida judge the federal health care law unconstitutional:

The judge ruled that ruling the law constitutional is the functional equivalent to an injunction — given that, do you think the Obama administration should stop implementing the healthcare law?

Price answered:

I believe that, but it’s a legal question ... but it’s necessary for us to continue fighting it in the court where we’ve asked for an expedited review in the Supreme Court so that the case that threw out the individual mandate and the entire law in Florida is heard as rapidly as possible by the Supreme Court. I’m concerned that it will be another year before it’s heard. I’d like to see it happen as soon as possible.

No comment was made about the constitutionality of having the Supreme Court make a ruling on this issue.