The Repeal Pledge, a project of Independent Women’s Voice and American Majority Action, seeks to identify those candidates who are willing to go beyond vague promises of repealing the law in full at some unspecified future date and to commit to doing everything in their power to defund or repeal it, even if in a piecemeal fashion, as soon as possible. It is, after all, easy to say one is in favor of repealing a law knowing that wholesale repeal would never be signed by the very President who pushed for and signed the law in the first place. It takes more guts to state for the record that one will actively seek to chip away at the law beginning today. For this reason, National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru called the Repeal Pledge “the most ironclad pledge I’ve seen out there.”
The incumbent version of the Repeal Pledge (the challenger version differs only slightly) reads:
I pledge to vote for all bills which seek to REPEAL the health care bill, HR 3590, signed into law on March 23, 2010.
To that end, I do now and will in the next Congress endorse and vote for all measures, including discharge petitions, leading to its defunding, deauthorization, and repeal.
I shall do so whether those measures are taken for the whole of the bill or those component parts that impose mandates, restrict patient and doctor choice and access, violate individual freedom and privacy, reduce healthy competition, increase costs, or raise taxes.
As of this writing 115 candidates have signed the Repeal Pledge. As one might expect, the vast majority are Republicans, with some Libertarian and Constitution Party members and Independents in the mix. There are, however, two Democrats, Jeff Gregory of North Carolina and Dave Hancock of Tennessee, both challengers.
Failure to sign the pledge does not necessarily imply a lack of seriousness regarding ObamaCare repeal — Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), for example, has not signed despite pushing a discharge petition to force a House vote on repeal — but could simply mean either that the candidate has not heard of the pledge or that he refuses to sign any pledges as, e.g., Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) does. On the other hand, signing the pledge would seem to indicate a definite commitment to repeal ObamaCare and restore some healthcare freedom.
Note, by the way, that the Repeal Pledge says nothing about replacing ObamaCare, unlike House Republicans’ “Pledge to America.” This is a good thing because, as Politico pointed out, “the promise to ‘replace’ Obama’s health care plan with something of their own [is] a signal, [some conservatives] argue, that Republicans in Washington are also willing to use government authority to intrude in the private market, albeit in a smaller way.”
Kudos to those who have signed the Repeal Pledge. It is now up to voters, in conjunction with the Repeal Pledge’s Advisory Board, which will be monitoring legislation, to ensure that those signers who are sworn in this January remain faithful to their promises to hack away vigorously and incessantly at these unconstitutional statutes. The health of the American republic — and its people — depends on it.