Republicans from the 40-member Freedom Caucus are taking their collective first steps toward Obamacare cuts later this month.
And part of these initial steps in the process involve drafting a budget law that would expand the national deficit and increase public debt by $9.7 trillion over the next decade. Then, should the law eventually pass, the nationwide debt would rise to $29.1 trillion by 2026.
The Freedom Caucus - which needs to have its official "position" on the matter by Monday (Jan. 9) - has historically been opposed to legislation that raises the national deficit without, at the very least, addressing a balanced budget at the same time.
In fact, on Jan. 5, The Washington Post pointed out that just last year, members of the caucus voiced outrage over similar legislation that would have likewise added to the U.S. budget deficit and nationwide debt. "We would rather torpedo the entire budget process than vote on a fiscal blueprint that increases spending without balancing the budget," the caucus had said in an official statement.
But now certain members of the group are leaning toward an uncertain future budget - so long as the outcome means Obamacare repeal in the near term...
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"I'd like to see a replacement of Obamacare pretty quick," Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) told The Washington Post yesterday. He added that he does have concerns about the legislation's lack of budget balancing. "Would I like to see [the budget] balanced? Certainly," Babin stated. "Absolutely. I've got 13 grandchildren, and I don't want to see them buried under $30 trillion in debt."
Policymakers from the caucus in agreement with Babin believe, however, that a budget increase is simply a "technicality," The Washington Post reported. Ultimately, the law needs to pass first in order to cut President Obama's legacy healthcare bill.
Voters will understand, they said.
But one particular member of the group spoke out in staunch disagreement with his peers...
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told reporters yesterday, "I want to make sure that conservatives in the House know that together we can have some power and impact on what the budget will be. It should be a conservative document that should not add $9.7 trillion to the debt over 10 years."
Regardless of the caucus members' various public statements on their proposal, Monday's vote is imminent - and 80% of those involved will need to agree on the fate of the long-term budget versus the repeal of Obamacare no matter what.
Later this month, when the Senate votes on the caucus' proposition as a whole, only 50 senators will be needed to approve the legislation's passage - as opposed to the typical 60 minimum count. With a GOP majority in Congress, there are now 52 Republicans in the Senate this year.