By Erik Wasson
ObamaCare funding is problem in next spending bill: Rogers
Congress has not escaped the ObamaCare defunding debate.
Though the House passed a budget deal on Thursday that would place $1.012 trillion spending limit in place for 2014, appropriators must flesh out the details.
House spending panel chief Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ala.) said Friday that appropriators are now negotiating defunding provisions as they try to cobble together a giant omnibus spending bill to keep the government open after Jan. 15.
Rogers and most House Republicans have little appetite for a repeat of the 16-day government shutdown in October that was sparked by a fight over funding the healthcare law.
But the chairman said in an interview on C-Span’s Newsmakers that the issue is still in play as the House and Senate negotiators work on agency budgets under the Labor, Health subcommittee.
“We will be looking at all the funding in that subcommittee’s jurisdiction,” Rogers said. The full interview will air Sunday on C-SPAN.
House Republicans never released their $121 billion Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education spending bill this summer, cancelling a markup at the last minute.
A draft prepared by subcommittee Chairman Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) included provisions defunding ObamaCare, restricting an "out of control" National Labor Relations Board and reforming waste in the Education Department.
Kingston, who is running for a Georgia Senate seat, may want to try defunding ObamaCare again or at least some aspect of it.
Rogers, however, downplayed the possibility of conflict on Friday.
“Mikulski and I talked about need to get this done with no big hullabaloo,” he said, referring to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.).
He said “most of the funding for ObamaCare is in the entitlement side of the budget,” not under appropriations, and that “the appropriations committee is not the place to legislate” about the law.
But Rogers said some riders, including possible those dealing with environmental regulations, may remain on the final trillion-dollar omnibus.
“Some of them we will not keep off, some of them we will keep off,” he said. “We will refer many of them to the appropriate authorizing committee.”
Rogers backed Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in blasting conservative groups that opposed the new budget deal. The groups include Freedomworks, HeritageAction, Club for Growth, Americans for Prosperity and Tea Party Patriots.
“These outside groups are stirring up trouble just to raise money,’ Rogers said. “It’s a money-raising scheme and they have tried to influence particularly our younger, newer members.
“No-one is going to tell me how to vote my card, except my constituents,” Rogers said.