Babin working to ensure o'care repeal
With another potential vote on repealing the Affordable Health Care Act, known as Obamacare, on the horizon, U.S. Rep. Brian Babin has made his stance known.
“He supports it and is working hard to get the votes needed to pass it,” said Jimmy Milstead, Babin’s spokesman, on Wednesday.
Babin is the U.S. Congressional representative for the 36th District, which includes the greater Baytown area.
After a failed attempt to pass the U.S. House of Representatives in March, Republicans seem poised to give it another try. Momentum to pass the bill picked up within the last few days, with two more lawmakers saying they are now on board after earlier saying they opposed a repeal vote. U.S. Reps. Fred Upton of Michigan and Billy Long of Missouri said Wednesday they now support the bill with the latest revisions, which includes $8 billion in additional funds for supplement insurance for those that have pre-existing health conditions.
“By giving the states, rather than Washington bureaucrats, greater authority to set health plan rules, this bill gives us the opportunity to see a broader range of health plans with lower premiums,” Babin said. “Under Obamacare, it’s pretty much an unaffordable one-size-fits-all health package that forces everyone to buy the same health benefits. Americans want affordability and choice — this new plan moves us in that direction. I’ve been a ‘yes’ for several weeks, and it’s time to get this done so we can get on with the rest of our agenda like tax reform and regulatory reform to create millions of jobs.”
Babin has also expressed his disdain for the what he says is abuse of the U.S. Senate filibuster. He says the Senate procedure is neither a law nor a constitutional requirement. Instead, he says it is a custom followed since the mid-1970s and is slowing down America’s progress.
While Babin says that President Donald Trump has rolled back “significant regulatory overreach” by former President Barack Obama, most of the legislative agenda has fallen short mostly due to obstruction from Senate Democrats.
“While there have been some exceptions, such as the bipartisan NASA bill that I worked on with Sen. Ted Cruz to get signed into law, many if not most of the initiatives President Trump (and those of us who supported him) promised the American People we would get done now face an uncertain future,” Babin said.
Babin said that President Trump was elected partly because of the promises to stop wasteful spending and end programs that went against Conservative values.
“Unfortunately, as we have seen in the latest versions of the proposed government spending bills, very little has changed because the Senate refuses to change,” Babin said. “For example, the Democrat position of federal funding for Planned Parenthood but not a wall for the southern border has apparently prevailed.”
Babin puts the blame for the inaction squarely on the filibuster.
“In today’s Senate, the courageous ‘stand’ against the Taylor political machine from ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington’ it is not,” he said. “Instead of having to remain on their feet and speak until they are no longer able to do so, a modern day Senator need only utter the words ‘I object,’ then head out for an evening dinner or a fundraiser.
“The only way to overcome this essential pocket veto is for 60 senators to vote to invoke cloture and allow the bill to proceed to a straight up or down vote. This essentially means that on a bill with unanimous Republican support in today’s Senate, at least eight Democrats must give their consent to allow the Senate to do the people’s business.”
Babin has also said he is opposed to the spending bill.
“I voted against this $1 trillion government funding bill because it fails to include so many of the goals and priorities that President Trump – and the Republican Congress – were elected to carry out,” Babin said. “The reality is, when we hamstring the Republican majority by catering legislation to meet the Senate’s 60 vote supermajority threshold, we are essentially giving Senate Democrat leaders a veto over our legislative and spending priorities. While this bill includes several positive provisions, such as a boost in defense spending, it fails to provide new funding for the border wall or end taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood and sanctuary cities. We must deliver on our promises to the American people and put an end to the abuse of the Senate filibuster that is obstructing President Trump’s conservative agenda.”
Babin said he shared President Trump’s sentiment that the Senate rules are “archaic and slow moving” and are the main reason Republicans are “forced to make deals that are not the deal you’d make.”
Babin said the American people have had enough of the “fake filibuster.”
“The time has come for the Senate to allow the same rule change that allowed President Trump to install a first-class cabinet and Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch in the face of unprecedented obstruction: an up-or-down, simple majority voting process for all legislation,” Babin said.
Babin said that some defenders of the filibuster say it helped Republicans during President Obama’s administration such stopping a $1 trillion Cap and Trade national energy tax.
“While I recognize these positive outcomes, they are outweighed by my faith in the electorate to exercise their right every two years to send a Congress to Washington to provide the consent of the governed,” Babin said. “Finally, in a country that values the separation of powers, it is understandable that most Senators do not take kindly to criticism of their rules and procedures. But the fact remains that barring a change to the rules of the Senate, President Trump will not be able to carry out most of the mandate that sent him to the White House. Senate inaction is standing in the way of the President’s plan of action. The time for action is now.”