Opponents of the Affordable Care Act have used floor proceedings for H.R. 1, a continuing resolution needed to fund the government through the remainder of the fiscal year, as a vehicle for attacking the act.
Republicans have offered, and won approval for, a number of H.R. 1 amendments that could block implementation of parts or all of the Affordable Care Act, the legislative package that includes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act (HCERA).
In theory, the Democratic majority in the Senate can simply reject any H.R. 1 PPACA defunding provisions. If Democrats form a budget resolution with significant PPACA defunding provisions, President Obama could veto it. But Republicans may have the leverage to get some amendments enacted, because the Obama administration must get a resolution through the House and signed by March 4 to keep the federal government from shutting down.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., ran into trouble with efforts to win approval for an amendment that would have “prohibited the use of funds in H.R. 1 from being used to pay any employee, contractor, or grantee of the Internal Revenue Service to implement or enforce the provisions of, or amendments made by” PPACA and HCERA.
House members blocked the McMorris Rodgers amendment from coming for a vote because of concerns that it violated budgeting rules.
House members later approved several general PPACA defunding amendments offered by Rep. Dennis Rehberg, R-Mont, and Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.
The Rehberg amendment could prohibit the use of federal funds to “pay any employee, officer, contractor, or grantee of any department or agency to implement” PPACA or the health provisions of HCERA.
One King amendment would “prohibit the use of funds in H.R. 1 or any previous act, to be used to carry out the provisions” of PPACA, HCERA or any amendment made by either PPACA or HCERA. A second King amendment would prohibit H.R. 1 funds from being used to “pay the salary of any officer or employee of any federal department or agency” to carry out PPACA or HCERA provisions.
The Rehberg and King amendments passed with almost complete Republican support and little Democratic support. A handful of Republicans and a handful of Democrats crossed party lines on each vote.
The House also approved at least two narrower defunding measures.