Ruling by Roberts Court enrages – and re-energizes – Oklahoma Republicans
Published: June 29th, 2012
Whatever else results from the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the controversial Affordable Care Act– deemed “ObamaCare,” first by critics and then even by President Barack Obama himself – the deeply divided 5-4 ruling has united Oklahoma Republicans dramatically.
Coming just after a divisive primary campaign that saw Republican incumbents easily turn back all but two “Tea Party” challenges, the Grand Old Party’s leaders might even welcome the change of focus.
State Sen. Dan Newberry of Tulsa, who calls himself a Tea Party conservative but who had to rebuff a Tea Party challenge, sent CapitolBeatOK a statement characterizing the decision controlled by Chief Justice John Roberts as “an extraordinary disappointment.”
Nonetheless, he said, “it provides the public with valuable information about Obamacare. Today’s ruling lays bare the deception of the Obama administration in assuring the public that the Affordable Health Care Act was not a massive tax increase. This is an extraordinary fraud — if presented to the American people as the huge tax increase it really is, the proposal would have been overwhelmingly rejected.”
Newberry continued, “Despite the Court’s ruling, there is no question Obamacare remains terrible policy. The law diminishes individual liberty, broadens the authority of the federal government and marks an expansion of the welfare state.” Newberry said he would support efforts to repeal the law.
State Rep. Jason Nelson of Oklahoma City, who served as a member of the Joint Task Force of legislators who scrutinized the federal law over the past two years, told CapitolBeatOK, “I want Oklahoma to stand strong in its continuing fight against the implementation of this destructive Federal law at every turn and I will do everything I can to assist in the effort.
“Chief Justice John Marshall’s 1819 axiom, ‘The power to tax is the power to destroy,’ came to mind as I heard the news of the U.S. Supreme Court decision today upholding Obamacare on the basis that it is a tax. Clearly that power has been trained on individual and religious liberty by President Obama and Democrat Leaders in Congress.
“It is unimaginable that our Founding Fathers could have intended for the Federal government to compel American citizens to buy health insurance or pay a tax.”
One of the Legislature’s most conservative voices, state Rep. George Faught of Muskogee, shredded the ruling, saying, “This ruling allows another huge expansion of federal bureaucracy and intrusion into the lives of individuals. The Court … in essence gave the American people two choices: either get used to health control and rationing as the huge federal bureaucracy chokes off our liberties, or completely repeal this outrageous overreach that has already spawned 18,000 pages of new job-killing federal regulations.”
Faught led legislative efforts to avoid taking steps to implement the federal law. He is now running for the Second Congressional District seat, facing an August 28 runoff for his party’s nomination.
Ardmore Republican Pat Ownbey also assailed the ruling, saying the High Court edict came on “a sad day in American history.” As an alternative to the law he characterized as “a direct attack on our individual freedoms,” the state House member advocated “ increasing competition between insurance providers by allowing individuals to purchase coverage across state lines and allowing Americans to choose whether or not to buy insurance. This is not a decision for the government, this is an individual decision. The only way to reduce health care costs is to create a truly free market.”
Mike Sanders of Kingfisher, one of the Republican House incumbents who weathered a “Tea Party” challenge, called the federal health care law “an utter disaster for families, small businesses and employers and especially for seniors” which will “result in the largest tax increase in American history.” He predicted implementation of the law would mean “a future of higher costs, fewer choices and less control over our personal health care decisions.”
Articulating a determination to repeal the law, Sanders said, “Republicans are not opposed to sustainable fixes to our health care industry. We simply cannot support unlimited governmental power nor unsustainable, irresponsible spending. This law will not solve the problems of our health care system, but instead make it worse.”
Tecumseh Republican Rep. Josh Cockroft said he was “outraged” the Supreme Court would permit such power to the federal government.
He asserted, “These decisions today must spark a passion inside every American, a desire to listen and understand the gravity of where this country is headed. We cannot continue to push our problems down the road, but rather we must take a stand for what is right.”
Oklahoma state Republican Party Chairman Matt Pinnell, in a Friday afternoon (June 29) missive to donors, wrote, “Obamacare’s rules and regulations on job creators and small businesses make it nearly impossible to hire new workers at a time when Americans desperately need jobs. Health care costs continue to skyrocket and 20 million Americans could lose their employer-provided coverage.”
He concluded the note with an appeal for “the resources we need to ensure that Barack Obama is a one-term President.”