What is reconciliation and why is it important? Reconciliation allows the House to make changes to existing law so the law is consistent with provisions included in the budget agreement. Most importantly, this process gives Republicans in the Senate the ability to waive the 60 vote requirement in Senate rules and pass budget-related provisions by a simple majority vote. You may recall that Democrats in Congress used reconciliation in 2010 to push pieces of the president’s health care bill, which is now law, through Congress.
Three House Committees – including the House Education and Workforce Committee, on which I serve – were tasked with finding savings in the federal budget. The committees’ proposals were then combined into one package by the Budget Committee.
I support this bill for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the bill repeals the individual and employer mandates, making it impossible for the government to force individuals, families and employers to purchase certain insurance policies. Repealing the mandates will bring choice back to our health care system and protect those struggling under ObamaCare.
The bill also repeals the auto-enrollment mandate, which will force many employers to automatically enroll new full-time employees in insurance plans they may not need or want. This will excuse many workers and employers from the confusing maze of mandates and penalties triggered by the president’s health care law, saving them time and money.
I am proud the bill also includes a repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). The IPAB will consist of fifteen unelected bureaucrats tasked with finding savings in Medicare. IPAB proposals will be considered using fast-track procedures and, absent a three-fifths vote of the Senate, Congress can only modify the type of cuts, not the amount. I have consistently pushed for repeal of the IPAB and introduced bipartisan legislation earlier this year to repeal the board. Lastly, the package includes repeals of the medical device and “Cadillac” taxes, as well as a costly ObamaCare slush fund, the Prevention and Public Health fund.
Together, these significant repeals will save taxpayers $78.9 billion, all while protecting them from the most harmful parts of the president’s health care law and taking a strong stand for human life. The National Right to Life is supporting this reconciliation bill and I’m proud to do the same.
I’ve heard some question why we can’t just pass a full repeal. Well, first of all, the House has already done that – it’s a bill I’ve proudly supported every Congress since ObamaCare was passed. By targeting major pieces of the law, we will preclude Democrats in the Senate from filibustering this bill, ensuring we can get a proposal through Congress and to the president’s desk. It will be the first time the president has been forced to engage with Congress on his health care law in a serious way since he signed the bill into law.
I strongly believe this bill is the first step towards true, patient-centered health care reform. Make no mistake, our work to repeal ObamaCare is just beginning, but I am confident the committees worked to move strong and strategic repeal efforts. I thank Chairmen Price, Ryan, Upton and Kline for their hard work and leadership on these important provisions.