GOP senators demand answers from White House on ObamaCare promotion

Alexander, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee ranking member, lead nearly all of the GOP Senate caucus in writing a letter to White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler.

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“We write to ask for information about the activities being undertaken by twenty or more federal agencies with no responsibilities under the President’s health care law in the implementation and promotion of that law, specifically about what the agencies are doing, what funds the agencies are spending, and what authorities the agencies are using,” the letter stated.

The senators said they were prompted to send the letter after reports that the Food and Drug Administration, Department of Education and the Department of Labor, among others, were promoting ObamaCare, also known as the Affordable Care Act.

The lawmakers said they want to know what funds these agencies are using since Congress did not authorize that spending.

“There is a cost to the taxpayers for each and every one of these actions,” the letter stated. “[Health and Human Services] has requested additional money to implement the health care law, and Congress denied that request. HHS now appears to be evading Congress’ constitutional power of the purse by using unrelated resources and authorities dedicated to other missions.”

In the letter, the senators questioned how the administration could complain about sequester cuts and yet still find money in various agencies to pay for ObamaCare promotions.

“Given that the Administration spent the last several months warning of alleged catastrophe from cutting approximately $85.3 billion out of a $3 trillion budget as part of sequestration, it is particularly surprising that unrelated resources, which previously could not be reduced, are now being used to implement or promote the health care law,” the senators wrote. “It is troubling that taxpayer funds are being used in this way without notice to the Congress by each agency involved.”

Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), David Vitter (R-La.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), James Risch (R-Idaho), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Jeff Chiesa (R-N.J.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) signed the letter.

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