March 2, 2011 | Commentary on Budget and Spending
In voting against the two-week Continuing Resolution, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R.-Minn.) and Rep. Steve King (R.-Iowa) were out of step with the rest of their party. They fear Republicans made a strategic blunder by stripping the bill of language that defunds ObamaCare and Planned Parenthood.
“In all of my business life and political life, whenever I’ve taken a position and then made concessions off of that position, it’s nearly impossible to go back and say I want to up the ante and increase my demands,” explained King, who was one of only six House Republicans to oppose the temporary spending, which passed the House on Tuesday. Five Republicans in the Senate also voted against the bill, which that body passed on Wednesday.
Bachmann joined King in opposition, sharing his concern that Republicans needed to mount a stronger fight on ObamaCare and Planned Parenthood now rather than later.
“I spent years as a federal tax litigation attorney and did a lot of negotiation in that process,” Bachmann told HUMAN EVENTS. “Negotiation taught me you have to fight from a position of strength. And we needed in the two-week CR the principles that are nonnegotiable for us.”
Two weeks ago, House Republicans considered more than 100 amendments to HR 1, the seven-month Continuing Resolution. The plan cut $61 billion and stripped federal funding for ObamaCare and Planned Parenthood. But when GOP leaders put forward their two-week compromise, those policy riders were gone.
When asked this week about concerns over the lack of policy riders in the two-week Continuing Resolution, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R.-Va.) pointed blame at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.), who failed to even bring the bill up for a vote.
“I think that we are trying to demonstrate right now that we don't want to see a shutdown and there will be no policy changes in the temporary CR that we will proffer this week,” Cantor said. “However, in the long term, again, for the remainder of the fiscal year, it is up to Harry Reid to answer to the members of his body and then thus their constituents as to where they stand. And why he is fearful of holding a vote on some of these issues is really the question to be asked.”
Moving forward, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R.-Ohio) maintains that he wants the Senate to take up HR 1, the seven-month funding bill, which includes the ObamaCare and Planned Parenthood provisions. But for Bachmann and King, that’s an unlikely scenario.
They worry that Republicans will be forced to adopt a series of temporary spending bills, like the one this week, which will ultimately delay the confrontation over ObamaCare and Planned Parenthood. In the process, their Republican colleagues might lose the will to fight.
“You have to pick the ground on which you’ll fight, and you want to fight when your army is at maximum strength,” King told HUMAN EVENTS. “We’re not as strong as we were three weeks ago, and now we’ve given up some ground. That’s a hill we have to retake now.”
Bachmann and King expect GOP leaders to face stiff resistance from conservatives and freshmen House members if the ObamaCare and Planned Parenthood provisions are included in a subsequent Continuing Resolution.
“I believe that, tactically, it’s important for Republicans to stand up for the fight we believe in because we can’t win if we don’t fight,” Bachmann said. “Our strongest hand would be to let Leader Reid and President Obama know what our nonnegotiables are.”
Mr. Bluey is director of the Center for Media & Public Policy at The Heritage Foundation.
First appeared in Human Events