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  • House Moves Toward Draining Obamacare Slush Funds

    Efforts to defund Obamacare one bite at a time are making progress in the House, although Senate prospects remain dim.  The House is addressing parts of Obamacare which are so loosely-drafted that House Speaker John Boehner and others label them multi-billion-dollar “slush funds.”

    Five bills (numbered HR 1213 through 1217) targeted at parts of the health care law were approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee Wednesday.  The bills repeal some portions of Obamacare, totally defund other parts, and convert some automatic funding into a requirement for annual Congressional approval before anything could be spent.

    By the committee’s calculations, some $18.68-billion is addressed in the five bills (of the overall $105.46-billion in total automatic funding within Obamacare).  Plus an unlimited slush fund for the Secretary of Health and Human Services is repealed.

    Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA) took the lead on passing the measures, along with full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI).  Unfortunately, the national media have uniformly ignored the committee action.

    But defunding Obamacare is advancing on multiple fronts.  Awaiting hoped-for action is another and broader effort to defund the entire $105.46-billion, in the form of HR 1286, filed by Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Jack Kingston (R-GA), and Louis Gohmert (R-TX).  So far, that measure has attracted 67 co-sponsors, including GOP leadership members such as Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Tom Price (R-GA).

    However, the only committee action so far has been the bite-by-bite defunding attack from Pitts’ subcommittee and Upton’s full committee.  Floor votes can be expected soon on their legislation.

    As Pitts said in a recent statement:

    Last Thursday I asked [HHS] Secretary Sebelius whether she needed further Congressional approval to spend the money from the 4002 fund, and she answered no.

    I then asked her if she could fund activities above and beyond the level Congress appropriated, and she stated yes.

    This should concern every Member that we have a created a slush fund that the Secretary can spend from without any Congressional oversight or approval.

    By eliminating this fund, we are not cutting any specific program or activity. We are reclaiming our oversight role of how federal taxpayer dollars should be used.

    As described by the committee, the five measures taking bites out of Obamacare (a/k/a PPACA) are as follows:

    H.R. 1213, authored by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), strikes the unlimited direct appropriation found in Section 1311(a) of PPACA that provides the Secretary of Health and Human Services an unlimited amount of funds for state-based exchange grants.  The bill also rescinds any unobligated funds. The bill passed through the committee by a vote of 31 to 20.

    H.R. 1214, authored by Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), eliminates subsection Section 4101(a) of PPACA and rescinds any unobligated funds.  That subsection authorizes the Secretary to award grants to support the construction of school-based health centers. The bill passed through the committee by a vote of 27 to 15.

    H.R. 1215, authored by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), addresses Section 2953 which establishes grants for personal responsibility education programs and provides $75 million for each of fiscal years 2010 through 2014.   The bill converts automatic appropriations into a requirement for Congress to make annual decisions of whether to provide funds or not, and any obligated funds are repealed.  The bill passed through the committee by a vote of 25 to 17.

    H.R. 1216, authored by Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY), deals with the $230-million provided for FY2011 through 2015 for grants to teaching health centers.  It would convert the mandatory appropriations into an authorization subject to the annual appropriations process. The bill passed through the committee by a vote of 21 to 14.

    H.R. 1217, authored by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA), repeals Section 4002 and rescinds any unobligated funds.   Section 4002 creates a $17.75 billion (FY2012-2021) prevention and public health fund and provides the Secretary with full authority to administer these funds and to spend over and above existing programs already funded by Congress.  The bill passed through the committee by a vote of 26 to 16.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    14 Responses to House Moves Toward Draining Obamacare Slush Funds

    1. Kevin H, college par says:

      Remember last year, when Republcians kept repeated, 'Where are the jobs bills? Where are the jobs? jobs, jobs, jobs.' Now, 14 weeks into the Republican led Congress, Speaker Boehner has not take up any action on jobs bills.

      Instead, Speaker Boehner and the teaparty led Republicans are wasting all this time on bills that have no chance of becoming law. It just emphasizes that the Republicans only care about scoring political victories. They want to say they passed bills to defund health reform, and that is all.

      These bills have zero chance of becoming law, but the republican house continues to waste time on these messaging bills.

      So I ask, Speaker Boehner, where are the jobs?

    2. Roger S., Mass. says:

      To quote a (now infamously) famous Congressional miscreant twit from CA: " We need to pass the bill to find out what's in it." We have been "finding out", now haven't we? — That's what happens when bills are too big to be read or understood, let alone thoroughly debated, before the vote. Should she now ask again: "Are you serious, are you serious?!" the answer is: You bet we are!

    3. Redfray, Pea Ridge, says:

      I'm wondering Kevin H. from md, what type of "job bill" do you think the republicans could get pass the senate and president? No bill made by the republicans will be passed by the other side, and you know that. If we don't stop the government spending, what good will a job do us?

    4. David B., Illinois says:

      Speaker Boehner is headed in exactly the right direction, but he needs to push further and dig deeper. Onlu then will the Federal government then create jobs – by getting out of the way, reducing regulations and spending less money. ONLY THEN will jobs be created. (Government does not create jobs other than by its own hiring – which costs more jobs elsewhere.) Let the free markets work!

    5. Jeff H says:

      @ kevin The government does not create jobs. If we don't cut spending in the government there won't be any jobs. So cutting these slush funds as they call them will help cut spending of money we don't have. If we continue to spend more than we take in our economy will crash and we will all be on the streets. Keep drinking the kool-aid Kevin, You cannot continue to have government pay for everything.

    6. George Colgrove VA says:

      Kevin H,

      Government does not create jobs. Federal jobs paid for by 55% debt (after accounting for social insurance allocations) are not real jobs. Government produces absolutely nothing of marketable value. Meaning these jobs do nothing to support the economy. Very high paying jobs in DC makes DC's economy smoking, but that is it. I live here and it does not take you too far outside the beltway to see America's economy in ruins. On the way to VT I stopped at some malls to walk around – stretch my legs. These malls are not even half-full and the parking lots at peak time were not even 5% full. But in DC, the malls are fully outfitted with luxury stores full of federal workers on their extended lunch breaks.

      Jobs are gone because the federal workforce has sucked up all the available cash – and they want to go for more! To create jobs, people need money. For people to have money the government has to stop taking it. The government will need to exist on far fewer dollars than they have for nearly 30 to 40 years. We have over $500 billion in annual interest payments plus we need to pay off the principal of over $14.2 trillion! Bush and Obama spent this country into oblivion. You want jobs, it won’t be because of the feds – they literally killed our economy.

      It will be us on main street to fix this and job one is getting the federal workforce under control. The federal workforce has not lived up to the oath of office, and that alone warrants ALL of them being fired TODAY! Not getting into poor work ethics and such, them simply demanding twice what their private sector counterparts would receive is taking resources out of the economy that could be used in funding at least one more job, but worse that "extra" pay is adding to the dangerous national debt.

      Our debt has been identified by the Joint Chief of Staff of the DoD as being the number one National Security issue. Any unwarranted addition to the debt is similar to an act of terror against this country. Yet these federal workers still bloat their budgets and hire more people into their ranks.

      Now I agree these republicans are wasting time and resources in defining puny cuts. I think one simple piece of legislation is all that is neccessary – a non-political 15% across the board cut that needs to be evenly spread over every program office – including the two most protected and bigest abusers of taxpayer dollars – the DHHS and DoD.

      The three largest treasury expendatures of 2010 were:

      $571.5 billion paying Social Security benefits

      $513.7 billion paying Medicare benefits.

      $399.1 billion paying defense contractors for the year

      You see congress and the federal workforce are more interested in saving their lush DC economy, and they litterally DO NOT CARE ABOUT THE ECONOMY ELSE WHERE. In a discussion with a fed, I was told that to my face!

    7. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      This proverbial divided house, as much as I like it, will probably give Obama a decent chance at re-election since markets and businesses generally like gridlock in D.C. We can nearly rest assured that no more bad laws will be passed. The economy may respond in-kind.

      Even though these House bills have nil chance of becoming law, they do lay the groundwork for the 2012 election and tell the American people, both in Congress and among the GOP hopefuls, who is on the side of tyranny and who is on the side of liberty. It is not a worthless exercise.

    8. Larry Welch, Idaho says:

      A note to Kevin H: Every vote by Democrats to protect unappropriated federal spending will be brought into the glaring light of election time next year.

    9. Diana Brown, Illinoi says:

      @Jeff H You are correct to say that the government does not create jobs. Business will create job but first the government needs to get out of the way with their regulations. The government does not want business to succeed because Obama and his policies are not business oriented. Obama has no business experience at all and he is not a leader. While he talks a big game, he is only for Unions and making this country into a nanny state. I do not care what anyone says but I firmly believe Obama is a Socialist and Soros is in his pocket. What the other hand and you will see.

      This country is broke but the dems do not want to make cuts only our fiscal republicans do and I sure hope they fight fight fight for all big cuts. The american people are the majority of our tea partiers and they will be the backbone to the upcoming election. Obama needs to be a one term president because his policies have caused enough damage!!!!

    10. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Withholding Information is one of the ways of lying, so when it comes to Prosecuting the Half Vast Left Wing Conspiracy? Let's keep in mind what the Captive Media has done. They have let Demo-crats maintain their mantra "Republicans have no solutions!" American Pravda is well assured, they get paid off by Big Captive Corporations! The "We hate Corporations" argument is served by the corruption of a series of Democrat leaning Corps. AIG? Never heard of them until they did their big expensive Saturation Advertising Campaign! I see Quid Pro Quo because AIG got a big bailout! ADM does Saturation Ads (gets paid to burn food), BP gets paid to create Man Caused Disaster, GE gets paid off with NO Income Taxes! Imagine, Demolition Plutocrats creating corruption so as to sustain the false impression "Big Business is Evil!" I thing the Three Blind Mice, ABC, NBC & CBS get paid to Mold Public Opinion.

      See? Americans are paying for their own Communist Indoctrination! The kicker is, Demolition Plutocrats are getting rich off it! It is as twisted as? As twisted as, a Harry Reid speech in the Senate! Really twisted, see?

      I count on Heritage for fine Articles like this one, and our Overcriminalized site. Without Heritage? I doubt we would have real Hope! These Republican lawmakers are stars! Rock Stars! Heritage Contributors are Patriots!

    11. Stirling, Pennsylvan says:

      I applaud the speaker and Republicans going after these "Slush Funds." It's clear that while the Democrats held majorities in the House and Senate in the past 2 years (and the presidency) that they jammed thru everything and still blamed rebublicans for not getting everything they wanted. These Slush funds are just a fraud on the american taxpayer and should be seen as such. Wake up liberals and realize that if changes aren't made that our country will go bankrupt and nobody will have any money, retirement or other (this includes unions and other liberal groups. who's retirement funds are invested in the stock market.). The government is litterally making your dollars worth less thru quantitative easing in order to pay off the debt thru debasing our currency. We all win when the currency is worth something and loose when it is not.

    12. Ron, Belleville, NJ says:

      Excuse my pessimism but it appears to this saddened writer that Obama knows something that we do not know: his re-election is in the bag. Otherwise why would he be going off on his political rants daily?

      I hope and pray that the current actions of the House are not little more than an exotic fan dance.

    13. Pingback: Ernest Istook: Another Good Swing at Defunding Obamacare — But Not a Hit | iTREVINO

    14. Pingback: Unlimited "Slush Fund" Repealed from Health Care

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