Rep. Steve King: House Did NOT Defund Obamacare
(CNSNews.com) – Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) said that ObamaCare funding has not been completely cut despite the passage on Friday of several GOP amendments to de-fund implementation of the law through fiscal year 2011, which ends Sept. 30. In fact, $105.5 billion in automatic federal spending for ObamaCare is still in place.
King, in an interview with CNSNews.com, said that because his colleagues did not allow him to offer an amendment to stop a slew of automatic spending programs created by the health care reform package, some provisions of the law will continue to operate.
“That’s true,” King said of the untouched spending. “There are multiple places written into the ObamaCare legislation that automatically appropriate, dozens of places.”
While the House passed amendments from King and Reps. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) and Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) to strip the government of the discretionary funding needed to implement the law’s insurance mandate and other regulations, they did not allow King to offer an amendment shutting off a combined $105.5 billion in automatic spending authorized by ObamaCare itself.
“We got a CRS [Congressional Research Service] report published February 10 – just a week ago Thursday – and that report came out and I knew the numbers in it [because] we’d been working with them and I had been talking about the total,” King said.
“It’s $105.5 billion in automatic appropriations that were just slipped into ObamaCare and they go on in perpetuity unless Congress can take affirmative action to shut them off,” he said.
The amendment King planned to offer to stop the automatic spending was blocked by the Republican-controlled House Rules Committee on Monday because it violated the rules against legislating in spending bills. Under this rule, spending bills cannot create new legislation or alter existing law.
Because his amendment was not granted a waiver – an exemption sometimes granted by the Rules Committee – King would have had to force a showdown with GOP leadership on the House floor in order to bring the amendment up for a vote.
Instead, King offered his amendment on the floor and debated it before allowing the House Parliamentarian to strike it down because it was in violation of the rules.
The amendment would have rescinded unspent money already appropriated for the programs, preventing them from spending in the future and bringing these little-known parts of ObamaCare to a permanent halt.
However, King said that he and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) are now “working together” to find a way to cut off this automatic funding.
“They’re [GOP leaders] looking for a good vehicle and good timing and I’m looking,” King said. “We’re working together in a common way to get there and I’ve said that I believe that we need to put my language onto every appropriations bill all the way through the 112th Congress and I’m still of that opinion.”
“The debt ceiling is another good place for leverage,” said King. “There’s been a suggestion just to – with limited constraints – bring a debt ceiling bill and put the complete repeal of ObamaCare right on it.”
“I’m confident that Leader Cantor and I are on the same page,” said King.
King said that he was confident his amendment would pass when he eventually offers it.
“I think that we’ve got the votes to pass anything that cuts off funding, that further repeals,” he said. “It’s a matter of bringing the right [political] leverage to bear.”
King told CNSNews.com that he felt more confident than ever that Republicans would stand up for what they believe in and insist on a complete defunding of ObamaCare.
“As strong as our House is on this, that [today’s vote] helps the leaders be even stronger,” he said. “So after this vote today, I’m good.”