Two weeks before taking over control of the House of Representatives, Republicans have already succeeded in starting to defund Obamacare. As Ezra Klein, a zealous Obamacare supporter, writes in the Washington Post, "The Senate passed the Continuing Resolution [by a vote of] 79-16.... Another way of saying that: The Senate voted to defund the implementation of both health-care reform and financial-regulation reform." Shortly thereafter, the House followed suit, by a vote of 193 to 165. This result was achieved because, in Klein's words, "The omnibus spending bill collapsed," preparing the way for the continuing resolution. Klein frankly says: "[T]his is bad news for the health-care bill."
It is indeed, and it's a good first step leading into a new era in the House. House Republicans will soon pass a full repeal bill. They then need to pass replacement legislation that provides a compelling, incremental, commonsense alternative to Obamacare. That alternative needs to address rising health care costs (which last year's House Republican health care bill already did), and it needs to address in a meaningful way the plight of the uninsured (which last year's House Republican health care bill decidedly didn't do), by giving tax credits to the uninsured for the purchase of health insurance. Tax credits for the uninsured are a no-brainer, as it's both unfair and senseless that about the only Americans who don't currently get a tax break for the purchase of health insurance are the ones who we're all supposedly the most concerned about: the uninsured.
In addition, Republicans need to continue to defund Obamacare, conduct oversight hearings, and resist the urge to seek partial repeal or to start implementing this monstrosity at the state level. In short, they need to do everything possible to help set the stage for the election battle of 2012, which will largely decide the nation's fate for a long time to come.
If anyone doubts the stakes for the next two years, this pithy Washington Post review of the historically awful Congress that just adjourned should make them sufficiently clear: "A Congress that was dominated by Democrats passed more landmark legislation than any since the era of Lyndon B. Johnson's 'Great Society.'" You don't respond to such a Congress in any way other than determinedly working to overturn the damage it has done.
Far more encouragingly, the Post also writes, "The House and Senate adjourned for the year on Wednesday evening, closing a two-year term that holds the odd distinction of being both historically busy and epically unpopular." Only the likes of the Post could find it "odd" that a Congress that spent two years busily passing horribly bad laws would become "epically unpopular" as a result. And lest Congress get more than its share of the blame, let us remember that President Obama willfully led the fight for these very bills (it's not called "Congresscare"), and he's the one who proudly signed them into law.
Yet this epic unpopularity – admitted even by the Post – gives great hope going forward, as the Republicans are about to provide a welcome counterexample of fiscal responsibility, humility, and principled advocacy of limited government. With this in mind, and with the defunding of Obamacare now already underway, there is much to look forward to in the New Year.