Even as President Barack Obama prepares to break bread with Republican leaders at the White House, a move is afoot on Capitol Hill to pull the legs out from under his signature achievement to date, healthcare reform.
House Republicans are vowing to "de-fund" the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act Obama signed into law last year, with majority leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) saying he anticipates the introduction of an amendment next week that would "preclude any funding" for the law. Cantor has apparently tapped Rep. Dennis Rehberg (R-Mont.) to lead the charge, perhaps to tee him up for his recently-announced bid Democrat Jon Tester’s Senate seat.
“I will de-fund Obamacare if we’re not successful repealing it,” Rehberg told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, according to USA Today. Rehberg is newly installed chairman of the House health appropriations panel.
At least one other Republican is citing Democrats’ move to block funding for the Vietnam War as precedent for the Rehberg maneuver, according to The Hill.
“We should follow the model of the appropriations bill that shut off the funding for the Vietnam War,” Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) told a Tea Party crowd in Washington last night. “It went back to any money that was in the pipeline. That precedent is there.”
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office quickly shot an email to reporters chastising the assault on Obamacare, according to USA Today.
“Instead of focusing on Americans’ number one priority — jobs — Republicans are threatening patients’ rights and moving to put health insurance companies back in charge,” according to the statement.