In the clearest sign that Republicans know that repealing Obamacare is an epic disaster in the making, the House GOP moved to actually ban the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) from calculating or reporting on how much future deficit spiking would result.
The move, shrouded in a “rules package” referred to as House Resolution 5, is an attempt to block any eventual fallout from Americans who will watch their healthcare stolen and their deficit explode in an act of political revenge meant solely to rob President Obama of his legacy. An astounded Rep. Keith Ellison exposed the shady maneuver in a tweet that promptly went viral.
House GOP rules package bars CBO from counting spikes in deficit spending spurred by an ACA repeal.
— Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) January 5, 2017
A Twitter user commented with what may be the most apt description of what is happening:
“Like trying to turn off the alarm bell before setting off a fire.”
@keithellison Like trying to turn off the alarm bell before setting off a fire
— Shehab Kamal (@ShehabKamal73) January 5, 2017
It’s shady as hell, but there is no denying Republicans have a strong motive for attempting to hide the financial costs of this repeal. In a recent analysis by the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget found that completely killing the law (which Trump claims he will begin doing “on day one” in office) will cost taxpayers $350 billion over the next decade. That’s 350,000,000,000 dollars spent for the sole purpose of depriving millions of Americans affordable healthcare.
And the repeal isn’t even popular – for obvious reasons. A majority of Americans do not want Republicans to kill Obamacare. And even polls done by conservative lawmakers have exposed just how unpopular this political gamesmanship is.
Do you support the repeal of Obamacare? RT if you do, and share what you want to see as the replacement.
— Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) January 3, 2017
Faced with overwhelming unpopularity, Republicans decide to hide what they are doing instead of stop doing it.
The rules package gets worse, too:
The new rules package includes a Republican provision to impose fines on any House member who violates the decorum rules of the House. That change was added in response to a Democratic-led sit-in that tied up the House floor in June for over 24 hours, when dozens of members took over the chamber and demanded action on gun control measures.
Democrats also say that another change dealing with committee oversight could open up federal entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security to potential funding cuts.
So despite strong opposition from Democrats, Republicans used their majority in the House to ram through this rules package – effectively preventing any oversight into what they are about to do. They just turned off all the alarms.
The only nasty thing that didn’t make it into the resolution was the dismantling of the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, which would have handed over the responsibility of investigating ethics violations in Congress… to Republicans in Congress. This stipulation was reluctantly abandoned by the GOP after widespread outcry and fierce backlash from voters and Democrats alike.
Sounds like more outcries and more backlash is needed.
Featured image via Zach Gibson/Getty Images