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  • House Hearing: Obamacare Ties Hands of Congress to Control Funding

    Heritage Distinguished Fellow and former Congressman Ernest Istook (R–OK) recently unveiled Obamacare’s “dirty little secret”: $105 billion of advance appropriations which make it difficult for current and future Congresses to control spending on the unpopular new law. The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health delved further into the problems with this “phantom funding” at a hearing last week.

    Within its 2,700 pages, Obamacare has been given billions of dollars in advance appropriations—$6 billion was immediately appropriated, while over $105 billion was appropriated for the years following. In this way, the 111th Congress made spending decisions for years in advance, making a clear “attempt to handcuff the current Congress and prevent it from determining current levels of spending,” Congressman Istook told members of the committee.

    Founding Father James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 58 that “power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people.” According to Istook, Obamacare disarms Congress and “attempts to bypass the normal appropriations process.”

    One provision of Obamacare, for example, gives the Administration unlimited appropriations to provide grants to states for the new exchanges. This gives Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius an open-ended credit card to spend taxpayer dollars without any limit. Representative Joe Pitts (R–PA), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, argued that this violates the Constitution because it gives the Administration an unlimited tap on the U.S. Treasury.

    According to a February report by the Congressional Research Service, several provisions in the bill advance appropriations—though Obamacare was not “pitched to the public as a mandatory spending entitlement.” The hearing included focus on Section 1311(a), which provides unlimited mandatory spending for state-based exchange grants issued by the Secretary of HHS. Pitts emphasized that the Secretary can hand out money to states without further action from Congress because the bill already provides unlimited appropriations to do so.

    Thus far, Sebelius has distributed more than $296 million to implement the exchanges, which did not require further congressional approval. As House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton (R–MI) stated in the House hearing, “Congress needs to reassert its role and set spending priorities, rather than give the executive branch unfettered power to spend as much as it wishes.”

    This post was co-authored by Amanda Rae Kronquist.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to House Hearing: Obamacare Ties Hands of Congress to Control Funding

    1. Bobbie says:

      They'll continue their ignorance and total incompetence until they're stopped! Please stop these government designed atrocities. Deceivers, cheaters and crooks, no accountabilities and paid…

      accountability necessary- because most of us are adults who want truth from those who have control over us.

      everything the obama government proposes as "fair" is nothing more than "unfair."

    2. Pingback: » Financial and World News Update – 03/15/11 NoisyRoom.net: The Progressive Hunter

    3. Pingback: COACHEP » Blog Archive » News about Obamacare issue #304

    4. Karen Yancura, Michi says:

      I'm trying to make sense of why the Democrats never passed a budget last year; the obvious reason was it would have been political suicide because of the budget increases at a time when the U.S. debt and deficits are so high. Could another reason be that if there were a budget in place, the $102 billion for Obamacare could have been stripped from the budget while a continuing resolution does not allow that? (At least, not unless the House Rules were suspended.) I'd love to hear your thoughts.

    5. Richard SLATTERY, Sa says:

      Great job Manda. An outstanding exposure of the unparoleld corruption that is deep seated and runs directly to Obama himself. Anyone is better than this Marxsist,America hater.

      Poppy

    6. Henry says:

      This is the most corrupt dem-o crats since Lyndon Johnson. I say shut down the government. Who cares.

      I am tired of the old foot dragging of the crats. The union and george soros run president.

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