The Corner

Cruz, Lee, Rubio: Reconciliation Should Repeal Obamacare

The three senators issued a joint press release:

“On Friday the House of Representatives is set to vote on a reconciliation bill that repeals only parts of Obamacare. This simply isn’t good enough. Each of us campaigned on a promise to fully repeal Obamacare and a reconciliation bill is the best way to send such legislation to President Obama’s desk. If this bill cannot be amended so that it fully repeals Obamacare pursuant to Senate rules, we cannot support this bill. With millions of Americans now getting health premium increase notices in the mail, we owe our constituents nothing less.”
Heritage Action is siding with the three senators. I’m inclined to agree.
 
There’s a dispute about whether it’s proper to use the reconciliation process–a way of making filibusters impossible, and passing legislation through the Senate by a majority vote–to repeal Obamacare. I’m not competent to resolve that dispute. But the larger argument concerns whether it’s prudent to do it.
 
The answer isn’t obvious. Neither a partial nor a full repeal bill will get a presidential signature, so the question is really how best to structure the veto fight to advance conservative goals. I can see a case for advancing a reconciliation bill that just goes after the parts of Obamacare that conservatives most want to highlight. But that route will demoralize many conservatives, who will see it as a signal that the party is not resolved to repeal and replace Obamacare. The message sent will be one of Republican division. The better course, I think, is to press for full repeal.
 
(And since this involves two presidential candidates: disclosure)

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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