Rep. Michael Burgess tells Newsmax that President Barack Obama is "looking for trouble" if he seeks to roll back the budget cuts required by the sequester.
The Texas Republican, who is a medical doctor, also says Obamacare is "almost doomed to failure" — and charges that Attorney General Eric Holder is guilty of abuse of power in trying to negate the Supreme Court's recent decision on voting rights.
Burgess was first elected in 2002. He is vice chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
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At least 12 Republican senators have said they won’t sign a spending bill that includes funding for Obamacare, and the president threatens to veto any bill that doesn’t roll back sequester cuts.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV, Burgess was asked if that means we are headed for a government shutdown.
"If the president is serious about making a threat like that, that he will veto any bill that doesn't undo the sequester, then I guess that's where we're headed," he says.
"I would like to remove all funding from implementation of the Affordable Care Act. But if the president's position is that without undoing the sequester I'm not signing anything, that's preposterous.
"Remember the sequester is a law that he signed so he would not have to face another debt limit crisis before he faced the electorate in 2012. The sequester is the one thing that has managed to bring our spending down to levels that are certainly not admirable but at least defensible, and [if he seeks to implement] anything that undoes the sequester, the president's asking for trouble."
Burgess elaborates on his concerns over Obamacare: "I've got a lot of concerns and one of them of course is that the president or Valerie Jarrett, more appropriately, on July 2 said hey, that employer mandate, let's just forget about it for a year.
"And then three days later what did they have to do? They said by the way, since we're not collecting the data, we are going to rely on people to tell us the truth as to whether or not they're eligible for a subsidy in the exchange. Well I trust people to tell the truth but I also know, like Ronald Reagan, trust but verify.
"And then it's almost in the same motion, last week, that they said we're going to cut the number of inspectors in the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General Department. This is a recipe for disaster. You're almost begging people to take advantage of you and the person who loses in this transaction is the taxpayer."
As for President Obama's continuing insistence that Obamacare will lower insurance costs, Burgess observes: "You've already seen the game plan here from the administration. Any state that is perhaps a little bit better under the Affordable Care Act, they're going to talk up in a big way, even if they have to manipulate the data.
"You will hear the administration say look, it's working, you'll have House conservatives say no it's not, and we'll each point to respective states as evidence of that.
"The takeaway here is the Affordable Care Act is almost doomed to failure. But it's not going to be a quick failure. It's not going to be a painless failure. It's going to be a slow and protracted failure.
"What I do suspect is that probably a year after the open enrollment period starts, when people begin to see the effect on their insurance rates, that's when the major push back is going to come from the population."
Turning to another story of great consequence in Burgess' home state of Texas, Attorney General Holder announced that the Justice Department will ask a federal court to subject Texas to a pre-clearance requirement, which the Supreme Court just struck down, for all its proposed changes to voting laws for the next 10 years.
Burgess says the "Texas attorney general actually anticipated this to some degree. So they were prepared for this to happen.
"And it is clearly an abuse of power for Eric Holder to say he is the final arbiter over and above the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court issued their ruling on this and then he goes to a little used part of the Voting Rights Act and said no, no, no. My way shall prevail.
"Obviously he's going to be challenged on this. But isn't it preposterous that an attorney general who's been held in both civil and criminal contempt by the United States Congress seeks to go above the Supreme Court? It really is beyond the pale."
Asked if the House should vote on the immigration reform plan passed in the Senate, Burgess tells Newsmax: "First off, the Senate bill does have a problem and has not even arrived at the House yet. It has taxing provisions which [raise] serious constitutional problems.
"But the only part of our immigration system that is broken is the fact that border enforcement, interior enforcement, employer verification have been left to languish, and perhaps we ought to turn our attention to those things first as well as enforcing existing law before we start creating whole new classes of individuals.
"You need to talk about the effect of the Affordable Care Act on a new registered provisional immigrant status. What are you going to do to the working men and women who are legally in this country? If you say that no one who's a registered provisional immigrant under the Senate's language would be eligible for the Affordable Care Act, then guess what? There's an incentive for employers to hire those individuals first because they would not be penalized for not providing them with health insurance.
"We create a whole lot more problems when we start down that road. Let's fix some of the things that are fixable, and let's not try to change everything, especially when you've got a United States Congress with an approval rating of eight percent."
President Obama has proposed a so-called "grand bargain for middle class jobs" that would cut the U.S. corporate tax rate and use billions in revenues generated by a business tax overhaul to fund job creating projects.
Burgess expresses his view on the proposal: "Please put me down in the skeptical column, if not downright negative."
Job creation during the Obama administration has been "absolutely dismal," he adds.
"You have an administration that's anti-employer. Is it any surprise that job creation suffers under such a helm?
"Now the president seems to love the idea of stimulus, he loves the idea of pumping a lot of money into government programs. To date, none of that has worked."
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