There are also efforts to include a provision that eliminates funding for abortion providers. Again, if this kind of provision is included in a stop-gap bill, it is highly unlikely the Senate and Obama will approve the bill. This is all too similar to the manipulation used with pro-life provisions in the ObamaCare bill. Pro-life provisions were put into ObamaCare as a ruse in order to persuade pro-life Democrats to support ObamaCare. There were other ways the pro-life issue could have been dealt with, and there was a risk the provisions would not be adequate. Regrettably, the latter proved true and did nothing but enable the passage of ObamaCare.
There has been some debate over whether the $105.5 billion could even technically be included in the stop-gap bill. It would violate House rules because the bill is an appropriations bill, not an authorization bill. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-K., says you cannot use an appropriations bill to take away “authorized” money. The funding mechanism for ObamaCare was cleverly snuck into ObamaCare so that it could bypass appropriations in the future. There is also a problem with defunding ObamaCare through 2019 in this bill; House rules only permit defunding through 2011. There is only $2.88 billion left authorized for ObamaCare this fiscal year. Whereas the spending cuts negotiated in the continuing resolutions are twice that amount. Of course, advocates of including the defunding provision point out that House leadership could easily get enough support to waive the rules.
There may be another way to get around Obama and the Democrats in the Senate. The House and Energy Committee is working on legislation to defund $81.9 billion of ObamaCare in future years. Senate Democrats and Obama will be less likely to veto energy legislation.
A final concern is that eliminating ObamaCare immediately may interfere with efforts to get it struck down in the courts. Two federal court judges have now ruled against ObamaCare. The decision by Judge Roger Vinson of the Federal District Court in Florida went the furthest, holding that the insurance mandate makes the entire bill unconstitutional. If cutting funding eliminates the mandate, it may render the decision moot. Since the courts generally have final say over anything Congress passes, a court decision getting rid of ObamaCare would be superior to Congressional action.
The latest stop-gap continuing resolution expires on April 8. Congress will most likely vote on another temporary stop-gap measure at that time if the Democrats and Republicans are still in disagreement on an annual budget. As the truth about the provision to defund ObamaCare gets out, it will be revealing to see which Republican members of Congress still believe that voting against the stop-gap measures is a principled position that outweighs pragmatism.
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