Rep. Scott Perry, R-York County, is among 80 House Republicans who signed a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner urging him to de-fund the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, so-called Obamacare.
But Perry said he won't vote against any appropriations bills based solely on his disapproval of the law, and his signature was intended to "convey the message that the American people are dissatisfied with the debt and the healthcare law."
While the House and Senate passed the legislation and President Barack Obama signed it into law in 2010, Perry and dozens of his colleagues continue to resist.
Though several attempts have been unsuccessful, the letter urges Congress to "continue our efforts to repeal Obamacare in its entirety this year, next year, and until we are successful."
The letter posits using financial roadblocks "in the meantime," and it ends with a quote in which James Madison said the power over the purse may be regarded as "the most complete and effectual weapon ..."
How much sway the letter will have in upcoming funding decisions remains to be seen. Signed by about a third of the House's 233 Republicans, the letter doesn't threaten to shut down the government if the healthcare law is funded. However, such an impasse could result if the large group of Republicans votes against appropriations bills.
'Imperfect': Perry said the letter's proposed course of action is "imperfect" and he doesn't want to vote against funding bills just because Obamacare provisions are part of them.
He said he prefers a plan in which in appropriations, including Medicare and Medicaid, would be passed without the healthcare provisions. Such legislation could be sent to the Senate for its action, putting the onus on the other chamber, he said.
The Senate would have to decide whether to shut down the government over the healthcare funding, he said.
Perry said he'll continue to fight the healthcare law because a majority of his constituents want him to continue the fight, and "how responsible would I be acting as a representative if I felt in my heart ... that this is having a negative impact on our nation as a whole and I didn't do something about it?"
He said people around the 4th Congressional District have shared firsthand accounts, from businesses saying they're not hiring people or they're reducing employee hours to part-time so they don't have to comply with the law.
Phased in: The healthcare law is being phased in over several years and is nearing a major stage of enrolling millions of uninsured Americans for health coverage.
The next chapter starts Oct. 1, when people can enroll in health insurance plans offered through state-based health insurance exchanges.
With 80 House Republicans signing the letter and potentially voting against appropriations bills, the remaining 153 Republicans and more than 60 Democrats would have to agree on a bipartisan appropriations bill to fund the healthcare law.
Appropriations must be in place by Sept. 30, when the 2013 federal fiscal year ends, to avoid a shutdown of some government offices.
- Staff writer Christina Kauffman can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.