In advance of today's vote to repeal the Democrats' costly health care law, House Budget Committee Republicans took to the House floor to detail the consequences of the fiscal train wreck.
Among the House Budget Committee members that took part in the debate, Freshman Representative James Lankford (OK-05) shared the impact this law is already having on families and small businesses in Oklahoma. Making the case for repeal and replace, Lankford argued:
"We need to deal with the root causes of health care costs, and not just move the costs to the states, and put in price controls on doctors and hospitals. Shared pain is not what America was looking for. America was looking for solutions. The new health care law will create long-term budget issues in the days to come. From a budget perspective, you can cook the numbers all you want, but this bill will dramatically increase our federal debt. We need answers, not bigger problems. This is the United States of America. I believe we can do better than this. It's time to repeal this law, and start the hard work of solving the cost issues of health care delivery."
Freshman Representative Mick Mulvaney (SC-05) highlighted the contrast between the rhetoric on fiscal discipline and the reality of the budget-busting health care law:
"I'm hearing discussions on the importance of cutting deficits, the importance of keeping spending in line I don't know where the other side was when we got information that this bill costs trillions of dollars. I don't know where the attitude on being fiscally responsible was when we got information from the Chief Actuary at Medicare and Medicaid who said this bill was unsustainable in its spending. I don't know where they were with this attitude when heard from that same body that this bill raised the cost of health care. But I'm extraordinarily excited to hear this level of discussion, and as a Member of the Budget Committee, I look forward to this level of debate continuing beyond this bill, and into the upcoming discussion on the budget -- and we can make dramatic inroads on cutting government spending."
During the course of the floor debate, Chairman Paul Ryan (WI-01) responded to several specious claims by proponents of the budget-busting health care law.
* Regarding the health care law's adverse impact on jobs:
"Over $500 billion in tax increases will create jobs? The mandates, taxes, and penalties create jobs?"
* Regarding the prospects for repeal given the Democrats' control of the Senate and White House:
"We think it is important to define ourselves by our actions, and that's why we're acting. We think this law should be totally repealed."
* Regarding the law's fiscal house of cards:
"The previous Majority gave the CBO a bill full of smoke and mirrors. Here is what the CBO said when you take away the smoke and mirrors: Proponents of this massive increase in the size and scope of government want us to ignore the fact that there are $70 billion in CLASS Act premiums that are being double-counted, $53 billion in Social Security taxes that are being double-counted, $115 billion in new appropriations required to build the bureaucracy that was not counted, $398 billion in Medicare cuts that are being double-counted. And let's not forget the fact that Democrats originally included, but then stripped out the $208 billion "doctors' fix" in an attempt to ignore its cost. When you take away the smoke and mirrors, this law results in a $701 billion deficit increase."
* Regarding the failure to reconcile the fact that this law will increase the debt, and the claim that it will reduce the deficit:
"The CBO says this law will increase the debt. But how can you say that one hand this law lowers the deficit, but on the other hand it raises the debt? When the CBO looks at the interplay of all the fiscal policies in this law, they've made clear it increases the debt. When required to accept the bill the Democrats put in front of them -- all the smoke, all the mirrors, the double-counting, the non-counting, the discounting -- you get a different answer. If this bill reduces the deficit, how on earth can it increase the debt?"
For additional video from House Budget Committee members:
* Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ-05): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bm1zpmchLqw
* Rep. Ken Calvert (CA-44): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUr64RsfHHk
* Rep. Tim Huelskamp (KC-01): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVt0OjZA0dE
* Rep. Justin Amash (MI-03): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbGM4Xl9ZfQ
* More: http://www.youtube.com/housebudgetcommittee