GOP Won’t Defund Health Care Reform Law In Current Year’s Budget

Since efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act are doomed to failure as long as Barack Obama is President, the GOP has talked frequently about “defunding” the bill by refusing to allocate funds for its implementation. In their first real budget plan, though, the GOP makes no such effort at all:

House Republicans say they’re all on the same page about wanting to choke off funding for President Barack Obama’s health care law, but in their first real spending bill of 2011, it looks like they’re leaving that priority on the cutting room floor.

As the GOP writes a continuing resolution to fund the government for the rest of the year, it is likely to leave out language that would shut off funding for new mandates and programs under the health care law, according to Republican aides and lawmakers.

They’ll still have a shot at killing health care funding — using an amendment vote on the House floor — but by initially leaving the language out of the main funding bill, Republican leaders risk angering conservatives who think the new majority isn’t being aggressive enough.

“We expect them to swing at the ball every chance they get,” said Mark Meckler, a national coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots. Defunding the health care law was “the No. 1 promise” Republicans made in the midterm elections, Meckler said, and if they don’t deliver on it, “they’re going to find themselves in serious trouble with the people who put them in office.”

Groups that are dedicated to repealing the health care law are already framing the spending bill as a missed opportunity.

“If you’re serious about Obamacare, you have to defund it at each and every opportunity” and “stop the fiscal train wreck before it happens,” said Alex Cortes, chairman of

A House Appropriations Committee aide insisted that Republicans need to write a continuing resolution that can be signed into law — keeping the federal government open — and isn’t “loaded up with a bunch of political time bombs.”

A defunding proposal may still be offered as an Amendment to the Continuing Resolution, but it’s fairly clear that they don’t want a debate over health care to muddle up getting that bill passed. And that could cause problems with the Tea Party.

FILED UNDER: Healthcare Policy, US Politics, , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Kylopod says:

    Yup, the secret is out, “Repeal Obamacare” was just a marketing ploy to help them win elections in the midterm, now they will attempt to quietly toss it (though the “quiet” part isn’t likely to meet much success). And considering that they’d need to gain 14 Senate seats AND the presidency to repeal it in 2013, it is probably safe to say that this is a quixotic goal. The only avenue they have left is the courts. And frankly, that has some real potential. After Bush v. Gore, I take NOTHING for granted as far as the SCOTUS is concerned.

  2. The Republicans are likely going to be very selective in any defunding efforts because they risk alienating those who are generally against supposed entitlements but are now benefiting from such programs. While this will undoubtedly offend the extreme conservatives, it will allow the Republicans to appear to be dismantling the ACA in ways that they can sell to the majority of their constituents.

  3. An Interested Party says:

    “While this will undoubtedly offend the extreme conservatives, it will allow the Republicans to appear to be dismantling the ACA in ways that they can sell to the majority of their constituents.”

    Wow, the majority of their constituents are that stupid…