Aside from Energy and Commerce Republicans, Reps. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Steve King (R-Iowa) have crusaded against the mandatory spending. The Tea Party favorites earlier this month sent a letter urging lawmakers to vote against any long-term spending bill that didn't choke off healthcare reform funds. However, it's unclear how much support they have because their offices refuse to say which lawmakers – and how many – signed onto the letter.
Democrats say Republicans are hypocritical for targeting the long-term funding, saying that the GOP made similar appropriations in a Medicare reform bill enacted in 2003.
“Every member of this committee has a history of voting for both mandatory spending and discretionary spending,” Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said during a hearing this month.