Rep. Rehberg lays out health funding priorities

Rep. Dennis Rehberg (R-Mont.) tells The Hill that he'll try to use his chairmanship of the Appropriations Labor and Health and Human Services subcommittee to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that guarantees services to disabled children, even as he fights to starve the healthcare reform law.

The GOP realizes it will not be able to repeal the bill this year, so it will be looking to Rehberg to weaken it.

“I am going to fulfill my promise to the people of Montana that to the best of my ability we are going to defund Obamacare, if we are not successful in repealing,” Rehberg said last week.

He added that a key target will be the law's Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, which Rehberg called a $10 billion slush fund.

In a Tuesday interview, Rehberg said he will also look to starve any new programs that have been created as a result of the 2009 stimulus bill and claw back any unspent money that had been earmarked in the past.

He also said he'd try to ensure adequate funding under the Department of Education’s Impact Aid Program goes to Native American tribes.

Asked if he would be willing to shut down the government to get deep spending cuts, Rehberg said that it is “way too early” to speculate that spending negotiations with the Democratic Senate and White House would break down and lead to that.