GOP To Omit Language To Defund Reform Law From Spending Measure
Although House Republicans have said their strategy against the federal health reform law will include attempts to defund it, they have omitted such provisions in a continuing resolution measure that would keep the federal government funded through 2011, Politico reports.
However, GOP lawmakers plan to offer during the floor debate on the CR an amendment that would block funding for the reform law's implementation.
An aide on the House Appropriations Committee said the omission is intentional to ensure that the CR will be approved. Republicans also insist that their primary objective in drafting the CR is to rein in spending, not repeal the reform law, Politico reports. Republicans are aware that once the Democratic-controlled Senate takes up the House-approved CR, the upper chamber will remove any overhaul repeal language from the measure.
House Republicans note that such an amendment would give the party a second opportunity to force an up-or-down vote on the overhaul, just weeks after the House approved a bill (HR 2) to repeal the law.
Although it appears the GOP will focus little on defunding the law in the CR, Politico notes that the effort to passing a CR could turn into a debate over cutting the budgets of agencies charged with implementing and enforcing the health reform law, such as HHS and the Internal Revenue Service.
GOP Risks Conservative Supporter Backlash
Observers say House Republican leaders risk angering supporters who want the party to be more aggressive in defunding the overhaul, Politico reports.
Mark Meckler, a national coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots, said, "We expect [GOP leaders] to swing at the ball every chance they get," noting that defunding the reform law was the GOP's "No. 1 promise" in the midterm elections.
However, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) said that Republicans are "not running from promises" by omitting the language from the bill but that "there is a strategy" in addressing the repeal through amendments that would end funding for the law.
Further, Republicans are expected to develop more targeted proposals to defund the law later this year when they begin drafting the regular spending bills for fiscal year 2012, Politico reports (Nather/Sherman, Politico, 2/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.