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  • The "Untouchable" $23.6 Billion

    Untouchable.  That’s the treatment being given to the $23.6 billion being spent right now to implement Obamacare.

    This $23.6 billion is part of the $105.5 billion appropriated by the last Congress to fund Obamacare.  The remainder (Think of it as post-dated checks for the other $81.9 billion.) automatically becomes available between now and FY2019.

    None of this is to be confused with an additional $115 billion authorized for additional appropriation to Obamacare—but which the current Congress is unlikely to provide.

    The most pressing question, however, is whether any of the current $23.6 billion will be rescinded as part of the spending reductions being pursued in Congress.

    Despite campaign promises to defund Obamacare, it isn’t being done.  Why not?

    The excuses are flimsy.  Claims that it “cannot” be done under House rules are wrong and misleading.  The House has constitutional authority to package legislation however it wishes.  Self-imposed rules of the House should be no barrier to action, either.  Those same rules were waived repeatedly to permit defunding of other programs in the series of continuing resolutions (CRs) that are being used to keep the full federal government open.

    In the first full-year CR, the relevant rule (House Rule XXI) was waived to permit 123 previous appropriations to be rescinded.  But Obamacare funding was not touched.  Perhaps doing the same thing for the 124th time was considered going too far?

    Congress waived the rules again in the second two-week CR. But Obamacare funding still went untouched.

    In the latest three-week CR, the rules were waived once more, and again Obamacare funding was not touched.

    To its credit, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is pushing legislation to eliminate portions of the $81.9 billion to be spent on Obamacare in future years.  But the Committee’s proposal would do nothing to stem the $23.6 billion front-end money flowing into the program already.

    Unfortunately, that bill faces the same fate as the House’s previous (and praiseworthy) legislation to repeal all of Obamacare outright.  The Senate leadership has no intention of letting the proposal pass.  And even if the Senate approved the bill, President Obama would most certainly veto it.

    This is why the only meaningful method for defunding Obamacare is to package the spending cuts with must-pass legislation that has other things—like spending—that President Obama and his team desire.  There is no other way to apply political leverage.

    Another approach—which likewise would need to be packaged and leveraged—is to delay all Obamacare funds until we have a final decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on the law’s constitutionality.  The 11th Circuit is expediting its handling of the Justice Department’s appeal of Judge Roger Vinson’s landmark ruling that the entire law is unconstitutional.  In the meantime, why should tens of billions of taxpayer dollars be spent to implement a measure that is unconstitutional?

    This is the approach taken in the Save Our States Act.  In the House, Representatives Tom Graves (R-Ga.) and Kevin Brady (R-Texas) have filed HR 663 to create this moratorium on implementing Obamacare.  In the upper chamber, Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) have filed the companion version, S.281.

    The savings would certainly be in the billions.  The entire $23.6 billion of current front-end funding has not yet been spent, although the remaining balance has not been determined.

    Congress is in recess the week of March 21-27.  Many lawmakers will return home; some will hold public meetings.  It’s an important opportunity for public meetings and feedback.

    Perhaps then they can explain to citizens why Obamacare’s funding—especially the $23.6 billion they’re already spending—is being treated as untouchable.

    Posted in Obamacare, Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    25 Responses to The "Untouchable" $23.6 Billion

    1. Bobbie says:

      When thieves are caught with the money they stole, it's given back in all fairness and accountability…

    2. Marshall says:

      Look there are alot of other areas we can cut in and we know that a repeal or defunding of ombama care has not and will not pass the senate. The blood is being shed in congress as we speak. The republicans will keep sending stop gap bugets with cuts and shut down the governemnt until they get the cuts that they want.

    3. Robert Straley Sandp says:

      It seems the GOP is always behind the curve when it comes to heading off this Administration's destructive spending habits. What will it take for them to become more Pro Active and aggressive? Or is this country headed for certain Death?

    4. Shawn, MN says:

      who do I talk to in Minnesota Tea Party to get help me get John Kline District 2 out of office after this term. He has voted to keep funding Obamacare

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

    6. George Colgrove VA says:

      You at the Heritage Foundation need to be careful about pointing fingers – there are three pointing back at you. You call out this $23.6 billion as untouchable, and though I agree with your assessment that this needs to be removed from the budget, please understand you have assigned a value of $760 billion for defense spending as untouchable.

      You need to become much more consistent with your finger pointing. I really appreciate you pointing out the things that need to be cut from the feds – it is a big help. I wish you can take that same energy and do the same with defense as well. You have already identified almost $100 billion that can be saved from the defense budget, now let us go further. Let us use the same fervor towards that line item as you are with this line item.

      Truth be told, entitlements are not going away to the scale you need them to in order to increase the defense budget – without going deeper into debt and without increasing taxes. Unless you come out and admit, you want to drive this nation deeper into debt along with the federal government or that you want taxes to go to dangerous levels, you need to start getting your message straight. We need to cut everything.

      Last year; the year prior and the year prior to that the feds have been saying that we need to push off paying for all this just one more year to get this such and such list of things done. Well that year has come. I dont care how long the list is, we can’t afford it! We could never afford it! Japan will be suffering probably a $200 billion recovery bill for the earthquakes and tidal waves. We spent that much in foolish federal waste, duplication, redundancy, overpaid federal workers, luxurious federal office spaces and so much more in February alone! WE DO NOT HAVE THAT MONEY IF THE SAME THING HAPPENED TO US TODAY! A similar event would cripple us. This is a warning if we never had one. We have to get our fiscal situation under control. The scientists say we are due a similar blow in 30 years on the west coast.

    7. Mike, California says:

      I place this horrendous problem at the foot of John Boehner. He's a bottle neck to the progress of doing away with ObamaCare. The Congress can do what it thinks when it comes to passing or rescinding law. The TEA Party didn't go far enough in demanding Republicans do away with this ObamaCare atrocity. I don't know if it's possible at the federal level however maybe 'recall' of these wimpish Republicans are in order.

    8. NeoConVet says:

      The House & Senate Committee of "DITHER & DUCK" is in full session and will gather around to collectively dip their heads in sand and deny the obvious regarding money for Obamacare. Who is really surprised?? Sadly the voters only grow angrier as the Dolts-of-Deny move at the speed of drying concrete to fix what needs fixin!

    9. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      This present GOP Congress is still being led by the same gutless Republican as in the past. The new freshmen Congress does not yet understand all the tricks the old bunch knows. Age and treachery will win over youth and enthusiasm everytime. We must have a third political party comprising Tea Party philosophies

      to give all true conservatatives an alterative other than this despicable choise between socialist Dems and gutless Repbs.

    10. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      How about the Untouchable Billions represented in the Budget of Health And Human Services? Lets put this porker on the table! Pray tell what has HHS done for America? Caused the Cost of Medicine to Skyrocket! Gee! That's not good! Don't you suppose the States can handle Medicine? The fact is crazy, if you eliminated the HHS entirely? Nothing bad would happen! (Well, a huge sigh of relief!) HHS is just another Federal Agency Going After Americans, destroying the Medical Industry!

      Same as with all these out of control Federal Agencies, HHS is double dealing in Court. Notice they Double Dealed to get the measure passed! Turns out they imposed short notice on Congress just to keep their $105 Billion secret! The Healthcare Bill would never have passed if Congress knew then what it knows now! And Judge Vinson tells us, these Plutocrats are using dirty tricks to establish Totalitarian Powers for the Government! Ten ways it is Unprecidented!

      Personally, I think it is a High Crime to 'take over' American Industries or bankrupt them! Good of the People? These RINOs wouldn't know a High Crime if it lept up and bit them on the a**!

    11. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      Why is no media outlet questioning why the Obama DOJ is refusing to release

      public records concerning Elena Kagan involvement in defrending ObamaCare,

      before it passed, when she worked as a lawyer for the administration? If she did in fact make any comments concerning ObamaCare, under law, she should not be allowed to rule on this matter as a Supreme Court Justice. Obama knows full well that without Kagan's support for ObamaCare in the Court, he will loose

      the battle. Pressure must be forced on the DOJ to release the records.

    12. Dave Aldridge, Dayto says:

      Lloyd, I am begining to think you may be right on the money, pardon the pun. They promised us all sorts of reduction of Federal Government, then they get inside the beltway and back it goes to the same Bravo Sierra. I don't think they really and truly understand the mood of the majority of the tax paying citizens of this country. Change the way you do our business in DC or you will bw out too!!!

    13. MELINDA SPROAT says:

      Is there any doubt as to the reason trust in our government is at an all time low. We need responsible, truthful and strait forward leaders to say enough. I do not agree with everything Ron Paul and Rand Paul have to say , but I think they are honest in there opinion and facts.Tired of being DISGUSTED!

    14. R Holland, Chandler, says:

      Republicans, the Tea Party is watching you. You will be held responsible for your actions in 2012. Cut the budget til it hurts, then cut some more.

      Stop the deficit spending.

      Stop big government.

      Let the free market do its thing, make money and jobs.

    15. Matt, CO says:

      Thank you Heritage for pointing this out.

      People, buckle up…we're in for a bumpy ride. We've got a president that cares NOT for our Constitution and any of the Land's Rules…they just get in his way.

      We've got a Congress populated with several types of people: Libs/Progressives (aka Socialists), Pretenders (they say they believe in one thing and that reputation doesn't matter, then they get into offices of leadership and they're too afraid to get the correct work done) and Conservatives (who are being shut up by their leadership offices).

      This then leads to a toothless Judicial Branch. They seem to be doing their job…but with a DOJ not willing to perform their job as prescribed in the books and do only as the president wishes, the Courts are reduced to offering up their thoughts & nothing that checks & balances…

      …I'm sorry, but the 2010 elections are turning out to be a joke…on us real Americans. Boehner and Cantor…some of the most UNeffective leaders I've known, they're of the same cloth as the enemies of the USA.

    16. Wes in cincy says:

      Let's see, if we are due to have a massive quake on the west coast in

      the next 30 years, that should give us enough time to relocate Congress

      to the west coast. Never let a crisis go to waste.

    17. LibertyAtStake, Alex says:

      Every dime of the $105B that slipped past regular appropriations processes must be rescinded as the first condition for raising the debt ceiling.

      "Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive"

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