House Subcommittee Passes Bill That Would Block Reform Funds
On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies approved a fiscal year 2013 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill, which provides $150 billion in total discretionary spending, The Hill reports (Wasson, The Hill, 7/18).
The bill was passed on an 8-6 vote, with all Democrats and one Republican -- Rep. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) -- voting against it (Cheney, Politico, 7/18).
The bill -- the last of 12 annual appropriations bills to be released by the House -- would cut $6.3 billion from FY 2012 funding levels and is $8.8 billion less than President Obama's FY 2013 budget proposal. In addition, the measure would block the use of federal funding to "implement, administer, enforce or further" the provisions of the Affordable Care Act and reduce funding for federal health departments and agencies (California Healthline, 7/18).
Pre-Vote Debate Centers on ACA Repeal, Defund Efforts
Prior to the vote on Wednesday, much of the subcommittee's debate focused on the bill's health care provisions, particularly on efforts by Republicans to defund and repeal the federal health reform law, CQ Today reports (Khatami, CQ Today, 7/18).
Committee Chair Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said, "In this bill, we do what we can to address the runaway spending created by ObamaCare and continue to eliminate duplicative and ineffectual programs as we have for the last two years" (The Hill, 7/18).
Committee ranking member Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) asked, "Now that the Supreme Court has ruled, how much further should we keep fighting these battles?" Rogers replied, "While the Supreme Court upheld this law last month, it does not mean that Obamacare is good policy."
Before the final vote, the subcommittee voted down several Democratic amendments including:
- An amendment by Dicks to strip the bill of all policy riders;
- An amendment by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), which would have eliminated a rider that blocks funding to Planned Parenthood if it continues to provide abortion care;
- An amendment by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), which would have blocked a rider preventing a rule requiring home health aides to receive overtime pay; and
- An amendment by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), which would have eliminated a rider to stop the Obama administration from requiring insurers to provide contraceptive coverage (Wasson, "On the Money," The Hill, 7/18).
Prospects for Bill
Housed aides said the bill likely would be marked up by the full House Appropriations Committee next week (CQ Today, 7/18).While the bill is not expected to reach the House floor, it would "certainly not pass" if it reached the Democrat-controlled Senate, according to National Journal (McCarthy, National Journal, 7/18).
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