House Republicans renew effort to gut Obama's healthcare 'slush fund'

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told his GOP colleagues in a Friday memo that leaders will try again in June to pass a bill that would gut what they call a multi-billion dollar "slush fund" in ObamaCare.

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Republican leaders tried in April to kill the Prevention and Public Health fund, as part of a bill that also sought to boost funding for a Pre-existing Conditions Insurance Plan (PCIP). 

But rank-and-file Republicans rebelled against boosting the PCIP, which was also part of ObamaCare, and instead clamored for a vote on the full repeal of ObamaCare.

GOP leaders granted this wish in May, allowing the House to pass a full repeal of the law. But they said they would try again on the slush fund, and Cantor said they have now reworked the bill.

According to Cantor, the Helping Sick Americans Now Act, H.R. 1549, has been retooled so that it will still repeal the slush fund, but will not boost funding for the PCIP. 

Instead, the bill will fund state-based high-risk pools, something Cantor called the "conservative policy answer to helping Americans with pre-existing conditions."

"The text makes clear that the Secretary of Health and Human Services cannot require states to comply with any policy in ObamaCare as prerequisite or condition of participation," Cantor added. "Furthermore, the Secretary is required to develop a funding formula based on estimates provided by and in consultation with the state of the number of individuals with pre-existing conditions in each state."

He said the bill is estimated to reduce direct spending by $8.5 billion over the next decade, something that should also appeal to Republicans.

Cantor outlined this plan in a memo to his GOP colleagues outlining priorities for the month. His memo gave only a brief mention to two major issues, immigration and the debt ceiling, suggesting that these issues will come up later in the year.

"We will also continue our focus on how to deal with our broken immigration system as well as the debt limit," he wrote in a conclusion that offered a general look ahead into the summer. Other issues he said are on the agenda for the future include reforming No Child Left Behind, and addressing "overbearing regulations."

Cantor said GOP leaders would use June to pass four 2014 spending bills, a farm bill, and a bill streamlining the permitting process to provide "leasing certainty" for oil and gas shale development.

Two of the four spending bills up in June will be military construction/Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security — these bills will get votes next week. The other two are Defense and Agriculture.

Also in the mix is a National Defense Authorization Act for 2014, and an Intelligence Authorization bill. Cantor said dealing with the defense, security and intelligence bills would "honor our troops, past and present."

Cantor also said that the House will work on the remaining eight spending bills, although there is growing doubt that the House will be able to get to many more.

As expected, Cantor also stressed that oversight of the Obama administration would remain a key issue.

"We will continue our work to determine who directed IRS employees to target conservative groups, why it was done, and who knew about it," he wrote. 

"We will follow the facts and continue in our efforts to uncover the truth behind the attacks in Benghazi. We will explore DOJ's actions in seizing phone records and emails of the news media. We will also continue our oversight of the implementation of ObamaCare and the Administration's energy policy."