Congress and President Obama failed to approve and sign into law any of the annual spending bills that run the federal government last year. So everyone agreed to glom all of the bills together and punt until early March when Republicans would control the House of Representatives.
As of now, the federal government is funded through March 4 under a last-minute resolution that was approved in the 2010 lame-duck session of Congress. A number of Republicans view the legislation as a means to strangle the healthcare law.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va., photo above) explains of the potential effects the spending bill may have on the healthcare law: “I expect to see, one way or the other, the product to reflect that and preclude any funding to be used for that.”
Naturally, Democrats in the Senate, as well as the President, are prepared for a fight over cuts to the healthcare law. Dissent between the two parties could potentially result in a government shutdown if an agreement is not reached on the intricacies in the bill relevant to the healthcare law.
Representative Denny Rehberg R-Mont.) is the new chairman for the Labor, Health, and Human Services Subcommittee, the agency in charge of the funding of federal health programs. Fox News observes: “Speculation has been building that Rehberg, who announced over the weekend that he will challenge Democratic Sen. Jon Tester next year, could offer an amendment that would chop the healthcare funding.”
Likewise, Representative Steve King (R-Ia.) has already indicated that he has prepared language to defund the healthcare law.
While the future of Obama’s signature law seems uncertain, the stage is certainly being set for a fierce battle.
Last month, the House of Representatives voted 245-189 to repeal the healthcare law. At the time of the vote, Republicans also warned Democrats that they would consider parliamentary maneuvers to defund ObamaCare if necessary.
The law has also already been challenged and ruled unconstitutional by the judicial branch. Judge Roger Vinson of the U.S. Northern District of Florida ruled last week that law was unconstitutional and indicated that his decision should serve as “the functional equivalent of an injunction.”
Regardless of the ruling, the White House has declared that it will continue to move forward with implementation of the law. This week, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs affirmed that determination:
There are many courts that have heard many cases on this. More than 12 have dismissed the case. Two have ruled in our favor as to its constitutionality. Two have ruled against us. Implementation of the healthcare bill rightly continues to move forward as the law of the land.