GOP committee chairmen subpoenas HHS for Obamacare funding info

Tweo Republican committee chairman have issued a subpoena to HHS officials demanding documents relating to an Obamacare program for which there has been no congressional appropriation. 

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton cite the non-cooperation by DHS as the House looks into an Obamacare subsidy program that has never gone through the appropriation process.

Washington Examiner:

"We've been trying to get answers since last June, but HHS simply will not cooperate," Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said in a joint statement with Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich. "The administration funneled $1.3 billion last year into the Basic Health Program without a congressional appropriation — a clear violation of the law."

HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell has testified that the program, which subsidizes healthcare for people whose income level straddles the border between Medicaid coverage and the plans available on the Obamacare exchanges, can be funded through tax credits.

But Republican lawmakers say HHS is spending taxpayer money without congressional approval. "I would argue this is unconstitutional and it's illegal," Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., one of the lead investigators of the program, said last June. "There is a real problem here when administrations spend money that's not appropriated and they're just doing it with impunity."

The subpoenas could signal the return of the healthcare law to a national political debate that has shifted towards immigration and national security over the last year.

HHS gave Congress "heavily redacted" documents in November, according to the lawmakers. Last month, department staff told House investigators that they wouldn't produce any more documents.

"Our good faith attempts to learn basic, and targeted facts have been met with resistance every step of the way," Brady and Upton said. "The American public deserves answers now."

Brady and Upton are trying to find out where the money is coming from. Good luck with that. HHS appears to be pulling the money out of thin air - "tax credits," indeed - an accounting trick that is still unconstitutional.

This is more executive tomfoolery from the president - bypassing Congress because it's inconvenient to engage them. And the stonewall by HHS will probably play out into the next Congress as several House committee investigations are being hampered  by foot dragging from the agencies.

Running out the clock to avoid taking responsibility for their illegal acts.

 

 

 

Tweo Republican committee chairman have issued a subpoena to HHS officials demanding documents relating to an Obamacare program for which there has been no congressional appropriation. 

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton cite the non-cooperation by DHS as the House looks into an Obamacare subsidy program that has never gone through the appropriation process.

Washington Examiner:

"We've been trying to get answers since last June, but HHS simply will not cooperate," Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said in a joint statement with Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich. "The administration funneled $1.3 billion last year into the Basic Health Program without a congressional appropriation — a clear violation of the law."

HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell has testified that the program, which subsidizes healthcare for people whose income level straddles the border between Medicaid coverage and the plans available on the Obamacare exchanges, can be funded through tax credits.

But Republican lawmakers say HHS is spending taxpayer money without congressional approval. "I would argue this is unconstitutional and it's illegal," Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., one of the lead investigators of the program, said last June. "There is a real problem here when administrations spend money that's not appropriated and they're just doing it with impunity."

The subpoenas could signal the return of the healthcare law to a national political debate that has shifted towards immigration and national security over the last year.

HHS gave Congress "heavily redacted" documents in November, according to the lawmakers. Last month, department staff told House investigators that they wouldn't produce any more documents.

"Our good faith attempts to learn basic, and targeted facts have been met with resistance every step of the way," Brady and Upton said. "The American public deserves answers now."

Brady and Upton are trying to find out where the money is coming from. Good luck with that. HHS appears to be pulling the money out of thin air - "tax credits," indeed - an accounting trick that is still unconstitutional.

This is more executive tomfoolery from the president - bypassing Congress because it's inconvenient to engage them. And the stonewall by HHS will probably play out into the next Congress as several House committee investigations are being hampered  by foot dragging from the agencies.

Running out the clock to avoid taking responsibility for their illegal acts.