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Public Statements

Freshman Class on Obamacare

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. Thank you. I appreciate it. I appreciate you putting this together. I'm happy to come over here to the floor of the House to talk about the unconstitutionality of ObamaCare.

Before I talk about the Constitution and ObamaCare, I want to make really clear to folks who may be joining us tonight that all of us here believe that we need serious health care reform in the United States. We know that we need health care reform. There are many parts of our health care system that we need to reform so that it is more efficient and so that we can deal with the rising costs. We get that.

What we don't need is the health care reform that we got. We are not against health care reform. We are against the type of health care reform that we were given with ObamaCare, a government-centered, costly, bureaucratic health care law.

What I favor, and I think a lot of my colleagues favor, is a patient-centered health care reform that focuses on innovation and reducing costs, allowing more competition across State lines for insurance companies so that they can drive the costs down. We are looking for ways to provide quality care, to continue to provide quality care to Americans while reducing costs. I just want to make that really clear. We understand the need for health care reform.

We also understand the need to reform Medicare. We know that we must reform it to save it. The President's health care law, as we've heard some others refer to tonight, doesn't save Medicare. It makes changes. It takes $500 billion out of Medicare. He also set up an independent board, as we've heard, that will decide where cuts should be made.

Instead of reforming, instead of looking for ways to innovate, it just cuts. Ultimately, it rations Medicare. That's what the President's plan does.

We have a better alternative, a patient-centered alternative.

We're here tonight to talk about the law that we have, the law that I and many of my colleagues voted to repeal, and that is what some call ObamaCare, the President's health care law.

We first have to start out--we're talking about the Constitution--and recognize that this Constitution sets limits on the power of government. If it does not set limits on the power of government, then what good is it? It's not worth the paper it's written on if it doesn't set limits on government. That's exactly what it does. That's why we have a Constitution in the first place.

The Founders, the people that started this great country, they knew what government overreach could do. They knew what government power out of control could do. The Founders were very specific in providing limitations on government in this document.

When enumerating the powers of Congress, the Constitution clearly presents the power to regulate as separate and distinct from the power to raise and create.

Let me tell you a little more about what I'm talking about here. The issue of whether ObamaCare is constitutional or not boils down to the Commerce Clause. The Commerce Clause of the Constitution gives the Federal Government the ability to regulate commerce. When setting out the powers, the Constitution clearly talks about the power to regulate as separate and distinct from the power to raise and create.

Congress, for example, was given the power to create money and then regulate it. Congress was given the power to raise an Army and then the power to regulate it. But that's not the case with commerce. That's not the case with doing business. Congress was only given the power to regulate commerce, not raise it or create it. The power to raise or create it is not there. For money in the military, the power to regulate does not include the power to raise; rather, it follows it.

So the bottom line here is, there's no power to create commerce, create business transactions where they don't exist. As one of the gentlemen that was here earlier said, Where does it end? If the Federal Government can make you buy insurance, health insurance, can they make you eat your broccoli? Can they make my 2-year-old and 4-year-old eat their broccoli?

I happen to love potato chips. They're probably not the best thing for me. Can you stop me from eating them? If I eat too many during a Razorback game, does the Congress of the United States have the power to pay say, We've got to cut down on the number of chips people are eating? I say no, Congress does not have the power to do that. But you know what? A lot of folks would say yes, using the same reasoning that they believe they can make you buy health insurance.

And that's ultimately what this debate is about. Yes, it's about health care. It's about the unconstitutionality of ObamaCare, but, more broadly, it's about the Federal Government reaching into your life and telling you how to live it because the Federal Government thinks that it knows best. The Federal Government thinks it knows what you should eat, when you should eat it, what kind of insurance you ought to buy.

Now, I can't speak for the Founders, but I've got to believe, having read this document and many others that were written around the time of the founding of this country, I've got to believe that they would be outraged, outraged if they knew what was going on in their name, if they knew that the Federal Government was claiming to have the power to do the things that it claims it has the power to do.

Mr. Speaker, this is a critical week in our history because of the arguments that are going on at the Supreme Court, and the decision that comes out of the Supreme Court on this issue will be monumental. I would say, for me and the people that I represent in Arkansas that I talk with when I go home, that we believe that this Constitution establishes a limited government, and that no matter how you interpret it, you have to agree that it sets limits, and the Federal Government cannot force you to do whatever it wants you to do.


Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. I just wanted to comment on something you said there.

It might be a different debate if this Federal Government operated efficiently and ran everything perfectly, but we don't have a track record to brag on when it comes to managing this sort of thing.

What makes folks think that all the answers are in Washington? Where's the evidence of that? I don't think you can point to it. I think the record shows that when you let States do what is good for them, in particular, and experiment and innovate, try new things, serve as laboratories to learn the best way forward, that's what succeeds. The idea that one size fits all from up here, that's not patient-centered; that's government-centered.


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