GOP House Approves CR That Funds All Obamacare--Including Regulation Attacking Religious Freedom

March 6, 2013 - 4:32 PM

Barack Obama, John Boehner, Eric Cantor

President Barack Obama, House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(CNSNews.com) - The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted 267-151 on Wednesday to approve a $982-billion continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government through the rest of fiscal 2013 that fully funds the implementation of Obamacare during that period.

The House Republican leaders turned aside requests from groups of conservative members to include language in the bill that would have withheld funding for implementation of all of Obamacare, or, alternatively, that would have withheld funding for the Obamacare regulation that requires health-plans to provide cost-free coverage for sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs.

On Tuesday, the Republican-controlled Rules Committee rejected a request by Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R.-Okla.) to allow the full House to simply vote on an amendment to the CR sponsored by Bridenstine, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R.-Kans.) and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R.-Fla.) that would have stripped funding from implementation of Obamacare.

Last week, Bridenstine and Huelskamp sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor asking them to include such language in the CR. The CR produced by the leadership did not include that language.

Bridenstine then asked the Rules Committee on Wednesday--when it approved the rule that would govern House floor proceeding on the CR--to allow a vote on his amendment. The Rules Committee, however, rejected Bridenstine's request and refused to allow the rank and file members of the House to even vote on the proposition of defunding Obamacare.

Similarly, 14 Republican House members, led by Rep. Diane Black (R.-Tenn.) and Rep. John Fleming (R.-La.), wrote Boehner and Cantor last week asking them to include language in the CR that would reverse the sterilization-contraception-abortifacient regulation in order to protect the free exercise of religion, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment.

The Republican leaders did not include language in their CR to reverse this regulation--even though Boehner himself had declared in a House floor speech on Feb. 8, 2012 that the regulation was a violation of the constitutional right to freedom of religion and that Congress would not let it stand.

The Roman Catholic bishops of the United States have unanimously declared that the sterilization-contraception-abortifacient regulation--whose enforcement will now be carried out with funds approved by the Republican-controlled House--is an "unjust and illegal mandate" that violates the "personal civil rights" of individual Americans.

While the Republican-controlled House did not use the must-pass CR to defund or reverse any part of Obamacare, it did use the CR to accomplish other priorities through defunding.

For example, it prohibited the purchase of foreign-made ball bearings. “None of the funds appropriated by this Act may be used for the procurement of ball and roller bearings other than those produced by a domestic source and of domestic origin," says the CR.

The act also, for example, prohibits (with some exceptions) sending more than 50 government employees to a conference overseas.

"None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to send or otherwise pay for the attendance of more than 50 employees from a Federal department or agency that are stationed within the United States at any single conference occurring outside a state of the United States, except for employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs stationed in the Philippines, unless the relevant Secretary reports to the Committees on Appropriations of both Houses of Congress at least 5 days in advance that such attendance is important to the national interest," says the Act.

But, by contrast, it does not restrict funding for Planned Parenthood.

Of the 151 members of the House who voted against this CR, only 14 were Republicans. They included: Justin Amash (Mich.), Jim Bridenstine (Okla.), Broun (Ga.), Ron DeSantis (Fla.), Scott DesJarlais (Tenn.), John J. Duncan Jr. (Tenn.), Phil Gingrey (Ga.), Louie Gohmert (Tex.), Jack Kingston (Ga.), Tom McClintock (Calif.). Thomas Massie (Ky.), Bill Posey (Fla.), Matt Salmon (Ariz.), and Steve Stockman (Tex.).

Despite the vow they made in their 2010 "A Pledge to America" to post bills online for at least 72 hours before bringing them up for a vote, the House Republican leaders brought this CR up for a vote a little less than 48 hours after posting it.