House guerrilla tactics attempt to stymie Obamacare implementation
There's more than one way to skin a cat and the GOP in the House are looking at ways to defund, or refuse to fund implementation of Obamacare in government.
Next week, the House will take up a bill to prevent HHS money from going to the IRS.
The House will take up the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act sometime in July, and possibly next week when it returns from the July 4 recess. (The rule governing debate on the bill was already approved last week.) While the Obama administration requested another $1 billion so the IRS can implement the healthcare law, the bill, H.R. 6020, does not give any new money to the IRS.
Additionally, it "prohibits the IRS from receiving transfers from the Department of Health and Human Services to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," according to report language accompanying the bill from the House Appropriations Committee.
The report notes that in 2010, HHS allocated $20 million to the IRS for enforcing the healthcare law "without the Committee's knowledge." It also notes that the IRS received $168 million from HHS to implement the law in 2011, and plans to get another $322 million from HHS in 2012.
"The Committee prohibits further such transfers during fiscal year 2013 in section 106 of this Act," the report states.
The bill would spend a total of $21.5 billion on the IRS, Treasury Department and other related agencies, about 1.7 percent less than the current funding level. The bill increases funding in some areas, such as Small Business Administration business and disaster loans, public safety and education in Washington D.C., and the Treasury Department's anti-terrorism financing programs.
There's more the House can do in this vein. They can refuse to fund some of the more than 100 new boards and committees that will oversee Obamacare. They could redirect funds from HHS away from implementation.
But the president has his weapons also. As chief executive, he has some leeway in directing spending. He might even redirect money from the funding of the White House to pay for Obamacare. Suffice it to say that we are a long way from seeing Obamacare become reality and Republicans are going to fight it every step of the way.