House GOP Leaders Indicate They Will Fund Implementation of Obamacare

July 24, 2012 - 11:19 AM

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, House Speaker John Boehner

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and House Speaker John Boehner (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(CNSNews.com) –When asked whether the House Republicans would permit or not permit funding for Obamacare in whatever legislation is enacted to fund the government after Sept. 30--when the current funding legislation runs out--House Speaker John Boehner responded that "our goal would be to make sure the government is funded," thus indicating that House Republicans do plan to fund implementation of Obamacare past Sept. 30.

Unless a special provision is put into the bill to fund the government past Sept. 30 that expressly prohibits funding specifically for the Obamacare regulation that requires health-care plans to cover, without cost-sharing, sterilizations, artificial contraceptives and abortifacients, the House Republicans, by funding implementation of Obamacare, will also be funding implementation of that regulation.

The sterilization-contraceptives-abortifacient regulation takes effect on Aug. 1.

Boehner’s position had been echoed by Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in a press briefing on Monday.

At his press conference on Tuesday, CNSNews.com asked Boehner, “In whatever legislation funds the government after Sept. 30, will House Republicans permit funding for the Affordable Care Act?”

Boehner said, “I expect that we’ll have an agreement with the Senate on a CR [continuing resolution]. As you all know, CR’s do contain some changes but usually not many changes.  And considering that we’ve been fighting--the House has voted now 33 times to defund, to repeal and change Obamacare.  Actually, about seven or eight of those votes have become laws, so there have been changes.”

“But our goal would be to make sure the government is funded and any political talk of a government shutdown is put to rest,” said Boehner.

On Monday, Majority Whip McCarthy spoke with reporters.  CNSNews.com asked McCarthy, “In the next CR [continuing resolution] or appropriations bill, whatever that appropriations bill might be, will you and the other House Republicans permit or not permit funding to implement the Affordable Care Act”?

McCarthy said: “We’re not at a CR yet, but I don’t see this government ever being shut down. I think you’ll find that we’ll get this job done. We have displayed many times our desire to repeal and we will continue to do so. I think when we do it you always criticize us on our votes of how many times we try to repeal it in the process.”

CNSNews.com started to follow-up with the question, “So, if it comes down to either the government shutting down or you funding, the House Republicans funding Obamacare –”

McCarthy then said, “I don’t think you’re going to find any members here who are going to shut down the government.”

John Boehner, Barack Obama

House Speaker John Boehner meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House on Jan. 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Fiscal year 2012 ends on Sept. 30 and the new fiscal year 2013 begins on Oct. 1, 2012. The federal government, based upon the last agreement, will run out of money on Sept. 30. Congress, therefore, is planning to appropriate funds, either through separate appropriations bills or another CR, as Boehner indicated, to keep the government funded past the November election and potentially into December or the new year.

The Constitution says the no money may be spent from the Treasury except by an appropriation made by law. In order to become a law, an appropriation must pass the House of Representatives and the Senate and be signed by the president or be approved in a veto override vote by Congress.

If the House approved an appropriation bill to fund the government after Sept. 30 that prohibited funding for implementation of Obamacare, it would then be up to the Senate and the president whether to agree to the legislation or decide to block it--and thus block funding for the agencies of government the appropriation bill covered--because it did not implement Obamacare.

So far, 127 House Republican members have signed a letter urging the GOP House leadership --Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.)--to use the appropriations process to defund Obamacare.

The letter, in part,  states, “[W]e urge you not to bring to the House floor in the 112th Congress any legislation that provides or allows funds to implement ObamaCare through the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Health and Human Services, or any other federal entity. We also urge you to take legislative steps necessary to immediately rescind all ObamaCare-implementation funds.”

Congruent with the Affordable Care Act is a regulation issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that requires nearly all health insurers to provide sterilizations, contraceptives, and abortifacients free of charge.  The regulation goes into effect on Aug. 1, in eight days.

The Catholic bishops of the United States, who represent the single largest religious denomination in the country (57 million as of 2008, according to the Census Bureau), have said the HHS mandate is an “unjust law” and cannot be obeyed. Numerous dioceses, Catholic institutions, and several non-Catholic groups have filed lawsuits against the regulation, stating it violates their religious beliefs.  (Catholicism teaches that sterilization, artificial birth control, and drugs that induce abortions are immoral and sinful and Catholics cannot engage in or support such practices.)