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Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Unknown


Mr. LEE. Madam President, I wish to extend my gratitude to my colleague from Maryland for allowing me to speak at this time. I appreciate that.

I rise in support of the amendment proposed by my good friend, the Senator from Texas, that would defund the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for the remainder of this fiscal year. Almost everything the American people were told about ObamaCare by the bill's proponents has turned out to be incorrect. We were promised it would save money. Now we know it will cost us more money. In 2 short years, the projected cost of the government health care takeover has ballooned from $940 billion to $1.76 trillion. We were told it would help a struggling economy. Now we know it will help smother a still struggling economy.

Employers cite ObamaCare as a principal reason and reluctance to hire new employees. According to the National Federation of Independent Business, ObamaCare's unconstitutional mandate--which the Supreme Court salvaged only by rewriting it as a tax--will kill between 125,000 and 249,000 jobs over the next 10 years. According to the Congressional Budget Office, ObamaCare will reduce total

American employment by 800,000 jobs by 2021.

In fairness, these are only projections. Although I believe even those projections are optimistic, they certainly contradict the fairytale arguments in favor of ObamaCare in 2009 and 2010, but they are still just best guesses.

The reason Senator Cruz introduced, and the reason why I support, this amendment is that the case against ObamaCare is rapidly moving from fears about tomorrow to pain that is felt today--right now.

In 2008, then-Senator Obama promised that his policies would lower health care premiums for the average American family by $2,500; 4 years later--and 2 years after President Obama signed ObamaCare into law--the Kaiser Foundation reports that family health insurance premiums have actually risen by $2,370. This is one of the things we were told we needed to pass the bill in order to find within the bill a $5,000 premium hike on working families.

What else have we found? We found that when the Federal Government requires businesses to provide health insurance for their full-time employees, businesses respond by cutting employee hours. Other companies have chosen to go farther and have simply laid employees off altogether or shifted those jobs overseas. Other companies have admitted that the cost ObamaCare adds to their business will have to be passed on to their customers in the form of higher prices.

Then there is the devastating impact ObamaCare has had on our medical device industry, which is targeted for a special punitive tax under this law. Companies from Boston Scientific, Stryker, Smith & Nephew and others are laying off workers and shipping their jobs overseas.

It is important to remember that each of these layoffs is, in a sense, a double strike against our economy. On the one hand, when people lose their jobs and their health insurance, the economy suffers in and of itself because of that impact. On the other hand, at the very same time this is occurring because ObamaCare and the rest of the President's failed agenda are weighing down our economy quite heavily, there are not enough new jobs being created for the recently unemployed Americans to fill. So the unemployed are not only staying unemployed for longer than normal, but they are also increasing demand for already overburdened government assistance programs. Thanks to ObamaCare, fewer people are working and paying into the system to support people ObamaCare is preventing from finding work and health insurance in the first place.

The beauty of the Cruz amendment is that we don't have to pass it to discover what it would do. We already know exactly what it would do. It would delay the implementation of ObamaCare and thereby save taxpayer money and American jobs. It would also restore a semblance of democratic accountability to a process that is badly in need of precisely that. After all, the various departments of the Federal Government have already issued some 20,000 pages' worth of regulations to formalize the ObamaCare system. In other words, the 2,700-page monstrosity Congress passed in 2010 was only a fraction of the final deforesting product.

Does anyone--literally anyone in the entire country--know what those 20,000 pages of regulations say? For all we know, we could be violating ObamaCare right now. Somewhere in those 20,000 pages there might be something saying we cannot do what we are doing at the moment.

Some might think I am exaggerating, but as we were all shocked to learn recently, 98 percent of individual health insurance policies in the United States right now are in violation of ObamaCare's standards. When ObamaCare goes into full effect, those Americans who own those policies will have to either buy more expensive insurance than they have now or pay the unconstitutional fine. The unconstitutional fine was, according to the Supreme Court, unconstitutional as a fine and could be sustained by the Supreme Court only because the Supreme Court rewrote the law as a tax instead of a fine.

To recap, ObamaCare is already costing us jobs that we need badly. It is raising health care costs. It is adding to our deficit and debt. It is forcing families off their health insurance policies they have and like. It is a Trojan horse for 20,000 of new law that no elected official wrote and not a single citizen in the United States has read.

Then, of course, there is the slow-motion train wreck of the law's implementation. A majority of States in the Union have already refused to set up their own ObamaCare exchanges. The bill has been passed and the American people now see what is in it and they want no part of it. So the Department of Health and Human Services is now charged with setting up Federal exchanges in those States, but they don't know how.

The clock is ticking. People are losing their health insurance. The exchanges are supposed to be ready to handle the massive influx of people dumped by ObamaCare onto those same exchanges, and the exchanges are not going to be there.

What will be there? Well, according to a report issued by the Associated Press, uninsured Americans will find a 15-page, 21-step application that will need approval from three separate Federal agencies. There are expected to be more than 4 million of these applications next year alone. Even as an advocate of the program says in this same AP story: The form will take a considerable amount of time to fill out and will be difficult for many people to be able to complete.

That part of the process ``does not get you to the selection of a plan.''

ObamaCare is going to make doing your taxes feel like a round of golf. For this reason, there are some who believe the only way to expose ObamaCare and rescue the health care system is to let nature take its course, to let it go into effect as soon as possible. They say that the sooner it collapses, the sooner we can repeal it and start over.

The Senator from Texas and I and everyone else supporting this amendment reject that logic. We cannot in good conscience send millions of innocent Americans into a dangerously dysfunctional health care system run by unaccountable, if well-intentioned, bureaucrats. We will not sacrifice millions of families to prove a political point. People's lives and livelihoods are at stake. The American people are not pawns in Washington's partisan political game. We work for them, not the other way around.

As public servants we have an obligation to protect the American people--those who elected us to serve. ObamaCare is going to hurt our country, our economy, our constituents, our friends, and our neighbors. It is the single greatest threat to our economy and to our health care system. Eventually, ObamaCare will be repealed. The American people will see the damage it does and demand that we scrap it and start over. But for now we must at least defund it, at least for the life of this continuing resolution--for the remainder of this fiscal year.

Senator Cruz and I have been assured that this amendment will fail and ObamaCare will move ahead as planned. If that is the will of the Senate, then so be it. But when ObamaCare does start to break down--when waiting times start to grow, when costs start to explode, when taxes start to rise, when doctors and nurses start to quit, when hospitals start to close,
when businesses start to shutter, when take-home pay falls and jobs disappear, when patients and families truly find out what is in this bill, then the American people will know who is responsible for the catastrophe of ObamaCare and who, like the Senator from Texas, tried to help.

A few years ago, when then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi famously told Members of the House that you have to pass this 2,700 page bill in order to find out what is in it, she perhaps saw what we would be experiencing today or at least some aspect of it. But either way, today we now see what is in what they passed back then. We, as Members of the Senate, have had an opportunity to review this piece of legislation over the last few years. We know what economic impact this law is already having as its still massive implementation has moved forward.

We need to make ourselves accountable to the American people for what is in this law and what we now know is in this law. I, therefore, respectfully urge each and every one of my colleagues to support this amendment.

Thank you, Madam President. I yield the floor.


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