With across-the-board sequestration cuts set to take place on March 1, Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) introduced a bill today to replace those arbitrary cuts for the rest of the fiscal year by delaying the full implementation of Obamacare until 2016.
"This bill pays for the cost of one year of the automatic cuts by delaying the expensive implementation of Obamacare," said Rep. Thornberry. "The Administration will not be ready to implement the health care bill by next January, so this bill is an opportunity to avoid a health care disaster. It also protects defense while giving us some time to put together a concrete plan that focuses on the real driver of spending and debt, which is mandatory entitlement spending," he continued.
Sequestration refers to automatic spending cuts that total $1.2 trillion over 10 years, half of the cuts will come from domestic programs and the other half from defense. Mandatory spending programs like Medicaid, Social Security, SNAP (formerly known as the Food Stamp Program), and others are exempt from the cuts. The delay of Obamacare by two years is estimated to save tax payers between $175 and $200 billion, twice the savings achieved by the first year of sequestration.
"People and businesses in our part of Texas continue to tell me that the new health care law is a major concern for them because of the massive cost and because it puts government between them and their doctors. We might not be able to repeal it entirely with the current state of divided government, but we can delay it, especially since the Administration will not be ready to implement it next January," said Thornberry.
Studies have found that sequestration would result in 1 million to 2 million job losses, cutting our nation's gross domestic product by about 1 percent. Small businesses have reported that the new health care law has already forced them to trim or even stop offering health care coverage. It is also leading employers to refrain from hiring or investing.
"With our high unemployment rate and weak job creation, some fear that our economy cannot sustain the significant, negative consequences of automatic cuts without falling back into recession. The House has passed several bills that reduce our deficit in ways that would not create such a mess in the private sector or hurt our national defense capabilities. It is past time for the President to stop campaigning and support one of those bills," said Thornberry.
Thornberry is also a consponsor of a proposal introduced by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon to substitute the savings achieved by sequestration with savings achieved through a reduction of the federal civilian workforce. Thornberry said, "There are a number of reasonable options to protect our national security and to cut spending sensible ways."
During the last session of Congress, the House voted to repeal, dismantle, and defund all or parts of the President's health care law. The House also passed several bills to replace across-the-board sequestration cuts with more targeted ones. The Senate did not consider the vast majority of these bills.