Report: House GOP Leadership Plan Procedural Trick to Avoid Obamacare Funding Fight
Sources close to House conservative leaders have confirmed to Breitbart News that House GOP leadership is planning to cave and fund Obamacare’s implementation for at least the rest of 2013.
Text of the Continuing Resolution (CR) that will fund the government for 60-75 days will be released on Tuesday, the conservative source said, before a House vote on Thursday. The move comes abruptly as conservatives are ramping up their final push on House leadership with a big Tea Party rally outside the Capitol on Tuesday calling for Obamacare’s defunding.
House Speaker John Boehner’s spokesman Michael Steel told Breitbart News the “CR will include defunding ObamaCare,” but would not specify whether or not a certain procedural “trick” the GOP leadership used in a similar situation in 2011 will be employed yet again.
Breitbart News’ source, a high-ranking conservative movement figure close to House conservatives, said that this CR from House leadership will continue to pay for Obamacare’s implementation without cutting from current levels of taxpayer funding for the healthcare law’s rollout, despite claims from Boehner’s office it will “include defunding ObamaCare.” The source said the budget riders that will be attached to the CR can be removed easily by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, allowing him to pass a CR through the Senate funding Obamacare--a procedural move that does not require the House to revisit its CR and makes the Senate version final.
The source added that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is “shopping an idea of passing defund through the House with the CR, but with a mechanism that would allow it to be decoupled in the Senate, defeated, and then the base CR be passed without coming back to the House.”
The source said the conservative movement should “reject and pan” this “trick” from Cantor, which allows House GOP members to claim they voted to defund Obamacare but allows Reid to strip out budget riders defunding Obamacare and pass a Senate CR without them.
In rushing the CR to the floor for a vote, Breitbart News’ source said that House GOP leadership will put votes on whether the U.S. should authorize use of military force in Syria off until next week.
Politico has also confirmed the GOP leadership’s plans, reporting that Cantor and House Speaker John Boehner are “dusting off an old legislative gambit from April 2011 as one way to move ahead this week with a stopgap spending bill for the first months of the new fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.”
“The goal is to give conservatives a vote on defunding health care reform without resulting in a government shutdown,” Politico’s David Rogers wrote. “It’s worked before, but ‘before’ is the operative word."
"And until Tuesday’s Republican Conference, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) won’t really know if this flash-from-the-past can flash again," Rogers continued. "Most simply the procedure calls for sending the Senate a stopgap spending bill together with a resolution that would alter the text of the bill once it’s enrolled for presentation to President Barack Obama.”
Red State’s Daniel Horowitz notes that this trick from House GOP leadership could give GOP members political cover to oppose the grassroots and Tea Party movement by allowing them to claim they voted not to pay for Obamacare’s implementation. “Based on what I'm hearing from House sources, the worst suspicions are confirmed,” Horowitz wrote. “Eric Cantor is floating an idea to pass a short-term CR with a defund rider. But just as we predicted, they plan to write a rule that will sever the defund rider from the body of the bill after it passes the House."
"This will allow the Senate to vote down the defund part separately, and send a clean CR straight to the President's desk without ever returning to the House," he explained. "This will ensure that we capitulate while allowing House and Senate Republicans to be shielded from charges of voting to defund Obamacare.”
Rick Manning, the vice president for public policy and communications at Americans for Limited Government, told Breitbart News such a strategy from leadership to buy political cover will likely fail in the end.
“If Congress ends up funding Obamacare in the Continuing Resolution, House Republicans will own it every bit as much as if they had voted for it in the beginning,” Manning said. “Parliamentary tricks will not save them from this reality.”
Conservative talk radio host Mark Levin said recently that if House Speaker John Boehner allowed a situation like this to happen, Obamacare would forever become known as “BoehnerCare.”
Club for Growth president Chris Chocola denounced the reported plan in a statement Monday afternoon: "Are these news reports from The Onion? Or are they real?” Chocola said. “When members were at home over recess, did they hear their constituents ask for legislative tricks or principled leadership?
"Trying to fool Republicans into voting to fund Obamacare is even worse than offering a bill that deliberately funds it," Chocola declared. "I hope this proposal is nothing more than a bad joke and is quickly discarded. Republicans should simply do what they say they are for by passing a Continuing Resolution that doesn’t fund Obamacare.”