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Nomination of Kent Yoshiho Hirozawa to be a Member of the National Labor Relations Board -- Continued

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, I appreciate having the opportunity to talk about this subject. I also appreciate my colleagues. They are absolutely right in everything they said in terms of the effect of ObamaCare. I was here when that debate took place. But there are two contentions on which I disagree with them. I thought I would voice them on the floor.

One is one of the quotes from the Senator from Texas: You can thank the men and women of the Congress for ObamaCare.

I would just say you can thank the Democrats for ObamaCare because there was not one Republican who voted for it. So it is not the Congress that did this; it is the President and his allies who created this mess that we are about to experience.

The other thing I disagree with is the fact that you can design a piece of legislation that will defund ObamaCare, because the vast majority of it is mandatory spending. So no matter what we did in terms of a continuing resolution, and according to the CRS--which I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record after I finish what I am talking about--all of the things would continue in terms of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act if we carried out the strategy that is outlined by my colleagues.

Now, their motivations are absolutely pure. I have never voted for a continuing resolution since I have been in the Senate. My American Conservative Union rating is 99 percent. I would love to defund it. I want somebody to show me a mechanism where we can do that because the vast majority of the money being spent today is mandatory spending that does not come under a spending bill associated with appropriations. It was passed by a law. So the only effective way to truly stop ObamaCare--and I think we ought to do it. To stop it would be to totally reverse it. We do not have the votes to do that, but we do have the votes to delay it.

When you go out and talk about the fact that they are not going to implement the employer mandate but implement the individual mandate, we can have a vote on that in the Senate. Then we can have our colleagues go home and say why they think it is fair to do that. We can actually add that.

The fact that they are not going to do a check on the claims for eligibility under the exchanges, 88 percent of Americans think that is wrong. Why do they think it is wrong? Because they know right now, with the earned-income tax credit, between 25 and 34 percent of it is fraud. On the child tax credit it is the same thing. They know exactly the same thing will happen when it comes to credits and payments in the exchanges.

They also know the Independent Payment Advisory Board is going to ration care for the vast majority of the Americans. We can have a vote on that again. A good portion of my colleagues on the other side would like to get rid of that. So we can have a strategic method of delaying ObamaCare by putting the votes up. But there is no way, according to the Congressional Research Service, that the vast majority of funding can be stopped unless you totally reverse the whole bill.

As my colleague said, they did not think President Obama would sign that. So you would have to have 67 votes to let that happen. I spent hours on this floor trying to defeat the Affordable Care Act. Many of my colleagues on this side came around to other proposals, the Patient's Choice Act, which accomplished many of the same things without large government, without tremendous cost, and without the government getting in between a patient and their doctor.

I do have a little bit of experience on that side of the ledger in terms of caring for people for the last 25 years as a practicing physician. So I would think it would be important that we have a way. I do not disagree with the intent of what my colleagues want to do. I want to defund this bill, but I also want to do it in a way that kills it. There is not a legislative method that we have that is capable of defunding it short of 67 votes in the Senate, short of two-thirds votes in the U.S. House.

Now, can we put some riders on it to say you will not implement a certain section of it? Yes, as long as it is associated with discretionary spending. So what I would ask is that my colleagues look at what the Congressional Research Service has said and what the approach will be based on their analysis of a plan.

I believe the vast majority of Americans want us to get rid of this bill, this law. They want it reversed. There is a dissonance between what Americans want and what Congress is willing to give them, much as my colleague said. It is different. But to claim the fact--and I will be with them on not voting for a CR. However, it will not necessarily be for the same right reasons. There are good reasons. I think that is a terrible way to fund the government, but the fact is, there are a lot of ways that we can delay this bill and accomplish what we need to accomplish.

I don't think we can do the other. I don't believe we can accomplish that. So my colleagues will remember, it was actually 1996 when we had the government shutdown. Everybody was all for it until they were not. I voted against reopening the government. Had we held, much like our colleagues want us to hold today, we would not be $17 trillion in debt. We would not have a budget deficit of $800 billion this year. We would not be borrowing $34,000 a second--a second--in this government.

But I also know human nature. The very people who say they will do things today, when it gets tough, do not do it. So I praise my colleagues for what they are trying to do. They are right in wanting to try to kill the Affordable Care Act: the costs, the lack of effectiveness, the long-term diminution of the doctor-patient relationship, government involved in every aspect of your health care.

To have a litmus test of, if I do not agree with the process then I do not really want to defund the Affordable Care Act, that is not a claim that settles very well with me, especially spending the last 4 years trying to fight this bill. I would say that the administration is lawless in its implementation of this bill, the fact that they are going to pick and choose--regardless of what the law says, they are going to pick and choose what they will implement and what they will not.

I think it is unacceptable. I think it is unfair to the average American. It is certainly unfair to the middle class. It is certainly unfair to those people who are trying to get a job today and cannot get full-time employment. We had 334,000 part-time jobs created last year. At this time in the economy, we should be creating 800,000 full-time jobs a year.

They are correct in terms of what it is doing to job creation. They are correct in terms of the negatives that it is having on our economy. They are correct about every part of this except whether it will actually solve the problem. In contrast to that is what it is that we have done that we can talk about with the American people that has been positive? We have actually shrunk the size of the Federal Government. For the first time since 1995, the discredited spending of the Federal Government is going to decline--for the first time.

We ought to use the continuing resolution, in my mind, to accentuate that one positive thing, which is that the reach and impact of the Federal Government in everybody's lives should be downgraded, as well as with the Affordable Care Act.

There is no one perfect way to do this. There will be disagreements, but the fact is we have accomplished some great things with the Budget Control Act and with the sequester. What we need to do is improve on that.

When I first came to the Senate, the average individual's debt was $23,000. It is at $54,000 today. Every man, woman, and child in this country, if you are born today, by the time you are 20 years of age--if you count unfunded liabilities--you will be responsible for in excess of $1 million of debt and unfunded liabilities.

Let me say that again. If you are born today, by the time you become a majority citizen, you will be responsible for debt and unfunded liabilities in excess of $1 million. The Affordable Care Act adds to that, but it doesn't add much compared to everything else we have done.

We need to rein in this President. I agree. We need to rein in spending. We need to rein in the Affordable Care Act. If we could end it, I would be for ending it tomorrow. What we need to do is delay it to where we can get to the point where we can kill it. It does need to be terminated.

There are positive things we need to be doing. There is no question that we ought to make available, without discrimination, health care for people who have preexisting illnesses. Those are positive things. We can do that. There are ways to do it other than the inefficient, ineffective way this bill does it. They weren't even ever considered for a vote when we had this. There wasn't any real debate on alternatives because we weren't allowed to offer them in the Senate.

My time has expired. I commend to my colleagues the CRS, Congressional Research Study, ``Potential Effects of a Government Shutdown on Implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).''

I yield the floor.


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