House Republicans on Friday are expected to propose a three-week stopgap CR to allow the negotiations to continue without shutting down the government. House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said Thursday that he “hopes” the three-week CR won’t include politically challenging issues like defunding healthcare reform.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), leader of the House Tea Party Caucus, has taken to the airwaves this week to rail against the reform law’s $105 billion in mandatory spending.
“Unbeknownst to members of Congress, over $105 billion was hidden in the Obamacare legislation to fund the implementation of Obamacare,” Bachmann said this week. “This is something that wasn't known. This money was broken up, hidden in various parts of the bill."
However, the mandatory spending was spelled out in an October 2010 Congressional Research Report, prompting The Washington Post’s Fact Checker blog, which evaluates political statements, to conclude that Bachmann’s claim was “bordering on ridiculous.”
On Friday, Bachmann and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) were circulating a letter that backed the Tea Party Patriots' message.
"While some have argued that our defunding efforts in the CR should be limited only to those annual funds actually provided by the CR, we disagree," they wrote. "If we do not stand our ground on the CR, leverage it as the 'must pass bill' that it is, and use it to stop the $105.5 billion in automatically appropriated funds, ObamaCare will be implemented on our watch, we will have conceded a significant amount of ground on this issue, and we will find it difficult, if not impossible, to regain the strategic advantage in future legislative vehicles."
Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce health subpanel said this week they would introduce legislation that transforms some of the law’s mandatory spending into discretionary spending subjected to annual scrutiny by congressional appropriators.
Democrats on Wednesday fought back against the claim that the law’s mandatory spending was unprecedented, arguing that the Medicare reform enacted by Republicans in 2003 also included long-term mandatory spending.
“Every member of this committee has a history of voting for both mandatory spending and discretionary spending,” said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the Energy and Commerce Committee’s ranking member. “In fact, a Republican-led Congress passed legislation that included over $400 billion of mandatory spending that was not paid for in the Medicare drug bill.”
This story was updated at 4:30 p.m. with the Bachmann-King letter.