House GOP To Unveil Alternative ACA Defunding Strategy
House Republican leaders on Tuesday are expected to offer an alternative strategy to defund the Affordable Care Act while minimizing the threat of a government shutdown, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports (Baker/Viebeck, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 9/9).
The plan spearheaded by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) calls for Republicans to block any government funding resolution that includes money for the ACA.
However, many Republicans in the House and Senate oppose the strategy, including House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). They say it is a reckless move that could result in voters holding the GOP responsible for the government shutting down (California Healthline, 9/9).
Details of the New Proposal
The new proposal -- devised by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) -- will be presented to GOP lawmakers at the House Republican Conference meeting on Tuesday. It is viewed as an attempt by the House GOP leadership to bridge the gap within the caucus over terms of a stopgap funding resolution (Young, CQ Roll Call, 9/9).
Unlike Lee and Meadows' plan, Cantor's proposal would not tie government funding directly to the ACA ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 9/9). Instead, the House simultaneously would vote on a "clean" continuing resolution that would fund the federal government, including the ACA, at current levels through mid-December and a separate House concurrent resolution that would defund the ACA. Under a rule governing debate, the Senate would be required to vote on whether to include the ACA defunding measure before it votes on the CR (House, National Journal, 9/9).
According to The Hill, if the Senate votes down the ACA defunding resolution, as expected, the continuing resolution portion would advance to the upper chamber and could be passed and signed by President Obama without returning to the House.
A Republican leadership aide familiar with the plan said, "It puts the onus back on Senate Democrats -- that they are responsible for funding Obamacare."
Reactions to Cantor's Plan
Some Republican lawmakers and conservative groups who support the original defunding plan say Cantor's proposal is unacceptable, The Hill reports (Berman et al., The Hill, 9/9).
On Monday, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) -- who signed Meadows' letter to GOP leaders in support of the original defunding plan -- said that he expects there would be at least 20 votes against Cantor's strategy for a CR. He added that for some House GOP lawmakers it shows, "you really aren't opposed to Obamacare; you just want to say you are" (National Journal, 9/9).
Chris Chocola -- president of Club for Growth, which supports the defunding plan -- criticized Cantor's proposal. He said, "Trying to fool Republicans into voting to fund Obamacare is even worse than offering a bill that deliberately funds it." He added, "I hope this proposal is nothing more than a bad joke and is quickly discarded."
Meanwhile, Emily Miller -- a spokesperson for Meadows -- said the lawmaker "remained committed" to defunding the ACA but would look at the language of the CR before deciding his vote (The Hill, 9/9).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.