Bachmann: ‘There Needs To Be an Insurrection’ Against GOP Leaders If They Don’t Hold Straight Vote to Repeal Obamacare

December 2, 2010 - 5:48 PM

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R.-Minn.)

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. Speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, Friday, Feb. 19, 2010. (Associated Press/Cliff Owen)

(CNSNews.com) -- Rep. Michele Bachmann (R.-Minn.), founder and chairman of the House Tea Party Caucus, told CNSNews.com that there will need to be an “insurrection” against the House Republican leadership if it does not hold an independent, straight up-or-down vote on repealing the entire Obamacare law that does not tie this repeal to other policy initiatives including any effort to “replace” elements of Obamacare with new federal health-care reforms.

A spokesman for House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R.-Va.), who will be the House majority leader in the next Congress, told CNSNews.com in response to Bachmann’s statement that Cantor agrees with Bachmann and is committed to the vote she wants.

A spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner (R.-Ohio), who will be the speaker of the House in the next Congress, answered more ambiguously, saying that Boehner was committed to holding a vote to repeal Obamacare, but not directly stating whether that vote would tie the repeal of Obamcare to other issues such as health-care reforms intended to “replace” Obamacare.

In “A Pledge to America,” a document released by the House Republican leadership before the November election, the Republican leaders promised to both “repeal and replace” Obamacare--rather than to simply repeal it.

“We will repeal President Obama’s government takeover of health care and replace it with common-sense reforms focused on strengthening the doctor-patient relationship,” said the pledge.

“We will make it illegal for an insurance company to deny coverage to someone with prior coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition, eliminate annual and lifetime spending caps, and prevent insurers from dropping your coverage just because you get sick,” the pledge added.

In a videotaped interview this week, CNSNews.com asked Bachmann is she favored completely repealing Obamacare.

“Yes. I do,” said Bachmann. “I was the first member of Congress to go to the floor and introduce a bill that would repeal Obamacare lock, stock and barrel. It was 41 words long, very simple. It would eviscerate the entire bill and that’s what we need to do, because it is the government takeover of one-sixth of the economy. We’ve already see the devastating impacts. It doesn’t work.”

CNSNews.com then asked Bachmann if she was confident that the Republican House leadership would hold a straight, up-or-down vote on the repeal of Obamacare when Republicans take majority control of the House in the next Congress.

“If they don’t,” said Bachmann, “I think there needs to be an insurrection here in Washington, D.C against our own leadership--because that is the message that’s come loud and clear out of this election: a full scale repudiation and rejection of the federal government takeover of private industry.

“Whether it’s private industry in health care, whether it’s the takeover of GM and Chrysler, the takeover of the student loan industry, or of the secondary housing mortgage market, or of banks, this is completely antithetical to American history to have the federal government takeover and run and control and direct and own private businesses,” said Bachmann. “Our economy cannot turn around if we turn away from the model of free enterprise.”

Bachmann did say that she takes the Repubican leaders “at their word,” but then vowed that if they cave there would be members of Congress who would fight them on it.

“I believe the best in them, and I take them at their word when they say this is what they’re going to do,” she said. “But if they decide they’re going to cave, or go weak in the knees, you will see members of Congress that will stand up against our leadership because we’re going to stand with the people on this issue.”

Bachmann said that Boehner and Cantor had said they stand for repeal of Obamacare, but when she was reminded that the Pledge to America said they would “repeal and replace” Obamacare, she said that that could lead to problems.

“That’s where the problem will be,” she said. “Because if we want to replace it with Obamacare-lite where the government comes in and tries to have interventionist policies, we are going to continue to see failure. We need to return free markets to health care.”

Bachmann said she thought it would be wrong-headed for Republicans to replace Obamacare with federal government intrusions in the health-care market such as forcing insurance companies to take people regardless of pre-existing conditions, eliminating caps on benefits and forcing insurance companies to cover people’s children until they are 26.

“I think it’s the wrong way for Republicans to go, and I have a bill that would get to cost,” she said. “That’s the real issue. It’s dealing with cost, and if you let any American buy any health insurance policy they want with no minimums and buy it anywhere in the United States, allow people to purchase the policies and pay the co-pays and high deductibles and all the other medical-related expenses with their own tax free money and then deduct the rest on their income tax return and have real tort reform, everyone in the United States will see their health care costs go down, because there is no perfect system.”

Megan Whittemore, spokesman for House Majority Leader-to-be Eric Cantor, told CSNews.com that Cantor is unambiguously committed a straight up-or-down vote on repealing Obamacare that is not tied to any thing else, period.

“To reiterate, there is no ‘tying’ a repeal bill to anything,” Whtitemore said in an email. “Very soon after Republicans become the majority, there will be a straight up or down vote on full repeal of ObamaCare, period.  Eric  led the effort against ObamaCare during its consideration in the House and has said nothing but full repeal since.

“Bachmann’s position is the same as Eric’s,” said Whittemore. “To be absolutely clear and avoid any possible confusion, Eric Cantor supports nothing less than the full and complete repeal of Obamacare.  As Majority Leader in the 112th Congress, Eric will ensure that the entire Obamacare fiasco will be repealed by the new Republican Majority. (Emphasis in original.)

“When ObamaCare is repealed, Eric has said that he supports several commonsense reforms including: tort reform that will help end frivolous lawsuits that only serve to drive up costs; portability of insurance policies across state lines; high risk pools for pre-existing conditions,” Whittemore said.

“These reforms were included in the Republican Health Care alternative bill that was supported by nearly every Republican in the House, including conservatives in the House, including Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, Jeb Hensarling, Michele Bachmann, and John Shaddegg,” said Whittemore.

“As you know, Eric led the whip operation against ObamaCare and has sought its repeal from the minute that it became law,” she said.

House Speaker-to-be John Boeher’s office provided a more ambiguous answer. CNSNews.com asked via email: “Is John Boehner committed to having the House of Representatives hold a straight up-or-down vote on the complete repeal of Obamacare that does not tie that repeal to any other policy or initiative or seek to ‘replace’ Obamacare with some other type of health-care reform?”

“We have pledged to America that we will vote to repeal ObamaCare, and we will,” Boehner Spokesman Michael Steel responded by email.

“Yes, but will it be in a straight up-or-down vote that is not tied to any ‘replacement’ policies or anything else?” CNSNews.com asked, seeking clarification.

“We will have a vote to repeal ObamaCare.  I can’t be any clearer than that,” said Steel via email.

CNSNews.com again asked: “But will it be an independent, stand-alone vote on repealing Obamacare in it’s entirety without in the same vote approving some other policy changes such as health-care reforms meant to ‘replace’ Obamacare?”

Boehner Spokesman Steel did not respond to this query.