Is Fox News Derailing Ted Cruz on Obamacare Defunding?
Fact: The Ted Cruz / Mike Lee proposed House Continuing Resolution (CR) would fund the entire federal government except for Obamacare. If passed into law by the Senate and signed by the president, there would be no need for any “shutdown.” Only Obamacare spending would be halted.
And yet —
Fox News, GOP spokespersons, and many conservative talk show hosts continue to talk about “Republicans threatening to shut down the government.” These groups are helping derail the Cruz/Lee CR by their unprofessional comments and reporting. See, in particular, the 3-minute video below, recorded August 11, 2013 (annotations added).
Passing the Cruz/Lee CR and sending it to the Senate will require courage — more courage than the GOP-led House has managed to muster since taking the majority in January, 2011. Having the conservative-friendly media repeatedly distort the initiative, as Fox does in the video above, pretty much dooms it.
As another example, on the Laura Ingraham show last week, Laura actually ran a poll question that asked: Should the Republicans shut down the government in order to get Obamacare defunded? She even announced this poll question right after ending an interview with Ted Cruz!
Way to go, Laura — you’re playing right into Obama’s narrative. Why didn’t you make that poll question: If the president doesn’t get his funding for Obamacare, do you think he’ll hurt Americans by shutting down the government? Do you see the difference?
As Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint said in his August 8 opinion piece in the Wall St. Journal (emphasis added):
This [CR] question is not being addressed fairly by the media, so the American people are not being told the truth about the coming political showdown over ObamaCare. Here’s what’s really happening.
President Obama, along with all the Democrats, will accuse Republicans of trying to shut down the government by giving the president a spending bill that he must veto. But there is no “must” about it. If the president opts to shut down all of government instead of just ObamaCare, that will be his choice, not the wish of conservatives. The truth is rarely a factor in today’s political battles, though. Much of the media will echo the White House talking points about Republicans shutting down the government. [Yep -- even Fox News.] Seniors will be told that Social Security and Medicare are in jeopardy if ObamaCare is not funded, the poor will be threatened with loss of benefits—well, you know the rest.
DeMint also addresses the myth pushed by Karl Rove and others that Obamacare can’t be defunded because so much of it is part of the mandatory budget. About Rove et al, he writes:
Their assertions are wrong. According to the Congressional Research Service, ObamaCare “administrative costs will have to be funded through the annual discretionary appropriations.” Furthermore, annual appropriations bills routinely carry funding limitations to mandatory spending and often block a wide range of potential government activities. The Hyde Amendment to a 1976 appropriation bill, for example, blocked all taxpayer funding of abortion, and has every year since 1976. Congress can disallow [mandatory] funding for ObamaCare and effectively stop the implementation of the law.
So what is the Rove alternative strategy? DeMint summarizes it as:
Allow ObamaCare to be fully implemented so the American people will see what a mess it is.
Good grief, Mr. Rove! Drive our children and grandchildren billions of dollars deeper into debt bondage so that we can teach America a lesson? Destroy still more of what’s left of our free-market health system, drive more doctors out of practice prematurely, wreck the private-insurance market, devastate employer-provided health insurance plans, and force millions into dependence on rationed federal healthcare? All that in the hopes of benefiting Republicans politically (maybe)? Sorry, Mr. Rove — no sale!
On the other hand, what are the actual prospects for the Cruz/Lee CR plan being implemented in the House? Virtually none. Sadly, all the signs are that we will see another 11th-hour capitulation disguised as a “compromise”, followed by pats-on-the-back for everybody and media stories of another “crisis averted.”
It’s Groundhog Day all over again, folks. And the media, even conservative-friendly media like Fox, are playing their role in making it happen. What a disappointment — shame on them!