Congressman Tom McClintock

Representing the 4th District of California

Resolving the Healthcare and Fiscal Dilemma - A Common Course for Common Goals

September 28, 2013

House floor remarks by Congressman Tom McClintock, September 28, 2013 

Resolving the Healthcare and Fiscal Dilemma
A Common Course for Common Goals

September 28, 2013

 Mr. Speaker:


A crisis is not a good time for inflammatory rhetoric and ad hominem attacks.  I will simply say that yesterday, the President missed an opportunity to bring both sides together.  That responsibility now rests solely with us.

Nobody on the Republican side of the aisle wants to see a government shutdown or a credit default.  And I am confident that nobody on the Democratic side wants to see millions of Americans lose the health plans they were told they could keep; or see their healthcare costs skyrocket, or lose their jobs or work hours because of the unintended consequences of Obamacare.

       But these events -- that nobody wants to see -- are now unfolding.  They will do great damage to our nation that nobody on wants to see happen.  

If we agree on these fundamental issues, our course should be clear and is only blocked by the kind of partisan division that we heard yesterday from the White House.  

We can avert these calamities and redeem this institution if we can put aside the name-calling for a few days and get down to business.

The good news is that we have a process of government that has evolved over centuries that is very good at resolving differences of opinion within and between the two houses of Congress.  

And in this case, there shouldn’t even be much to resolve: ALL OF US want to see the government stay open; ALL OF US want to see the government’s credit preserved; ALL OF US want to see Americans protected from losing health plans they want to keep; or from being socked with crushing premium increases; or from losing their jobs or having their hours cut back.

If we are all agreed on these objectives, isn’t the appropriate course self-evident?  Senator Manchin seems to have laid it out very clearly the other day:  a temporary Continuing Resolution to keep the government open; a temporary increase in the debt limit while we complete the normal appropriations process; and a temporary delay in Obamacare until the unintended consequences of its mandates can be corrected.

Is that so unreasonable?  After all, this Administration has already exempted big corporations and more than a thousand politically-connected groups from the Obamacare mandates.  

More revealingly, the Administration has protected members of Congress from its crushing costs.  That ought to be the ultimate wake-up call: if members of Congress can’t afford to meet Obamacare’s costs, how do we expect the average American to do so?   Why not give EVERYBODY the same relief by delaying these mandates until the law can be replaced with provisions that actually fulfill the promises made to the American people when it was enacted?

I don’t like Continuing Resolutions at all.  Congress has a responsibility to superintend the nation’s finances, and it has developed an appropriations process that requires painstaking review of every expenditure of this government.  That review involves countless hours of committee work, scores of hours of floor debate and hundreds of individual amendments.

Continuing resolutions cast aside this work and abandon Congress’s responsibility over the nation’s finances.  They shift enormous authority to the executive branch that the Founders never intended.   

I had hoped to be done with continuing resolutions.  Those who enacted Obamacare no doubt hoped it would lower health care costs and help the economy.  Sadly, events in this imperfect world can often disappoint and transfigure our fondest hopes.  We have not completed the appropriations process; we need additional time to do so and we need to correct the damage being done to existing health-plan holders and employees by Obamacare.   

If we all agree on these objectives our course should be clear to us all.  We should fund the government long enough to complete the normal appropriations process and we should delay Obamacare long enough to preserve the jobs, working hours, and existing health care policies of the millions of Americans who are now losing them.  

So let’s cool the rhetoric and do what this institution is designed to do: come together in support of the objectives upon which we all agree -- for the good of our nation and the people who have trusted us with its care.