Georgia congressman Tom Price warned Thursday that the outcome of the debt ceiling limit battle in Washington could send President Barack Obama down the road toward a successful re-election bid unless Republican Party members decide to hang together and vote together.
“It is imperative to stop the madness in Washington,” Price said during a call with health care policy analysts from around the nation. “The bill that will be on the (U.S. House of Representatives) floor this afternoon is not at all what I would have wanted it to be, nor likely what you would have wanted it to be, but it is I believe the only kind of construct that can get through the Senate and force the President to be signed into law.”
The Galen Institute and the Institute for Policy Innovation originally scheduled the four-term Georgia congressman for a health care policy discussion. That was forced to share the clock with the debt ceiling controversy that seems to change almost hourly. Price said Republican Party members should support the bill advanced by House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio.
“If something like this doesn’t happen, then I believe Barack Obama’s hand is strengthened to a huge degree,” Price said, “and not just in the area of the debt ceiling and spending, but in every other single aspect that the Congress will deal with over the next 15 to 16 months and make him much more likely to get re-elected.”
The House debt limit ceiling bill has broken the Republican Party into factions. Three Georgia congressmen – Phil Gingrey, Tom Graves and Paul Broun – oppose the Boehner legislation because they believe it does not cut enough from federal government spending. Tea Party Republicans oppose the bill. Others argue the Boehner bill is the best option at this moment.
“We’re at crunch time,” said Price, who is chair of the House Republican Policy Committee. “Threatening default in order to borrow more money just doesn’t make any sense at all. The challenge that we have is not political. It is mathematics. We will pierce our debt ceiling. The question is not whether it gets raised, but how to raise it in a way that gets us on a path to a balanced budget and then to paying off the debt.”
Price strongly opposes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – better known as ObamaCare – which he predicts will eventually be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
In a wide-ranging health care conversation, Price said states should not cooperate with the federal mandate to establish health care exchanges. Last month Georgia Governor Nathan Deal established a 25-member committee to study the establishment of a state-based health care exchange. ObamaCare mandates that states submit their plans before January 2013.
During the conference call Price was critical of the ObamaCare creation of the Independent Patient Advisory Board – he called it a “denial of care board.” Price also addressed a recent announcement by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that she will investigate how ten states regulate their health insurance markets – “outrageous,” Price said.
I wanted to publicly say how much I appreciate Georgia Public Policy Foundation. For those of you that will be entering the Legislature or are relatively new you may not quite yet appreciate how much we rely on Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s research and work. As you know we’re a citizen’s legislature. We have very little staff. They have been an invaluable, invaluable resource to us. To put this [Forum] on and the regular programs that they do throughout the year make us better at what we do. (At the 2012 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum.)