The Hidden Danger for Republicans Lurking in the Budget Deal

Republicans who voted for the landmark budget deal — and even some who didn’t — could face heat for funding Obamacare.

Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., reads from the Bible's book of Proverbs to the media, before a mock swearing-in ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011.
National Journal
Alex Seitz-Wald
Jan. 18, 2014, 8:10 a.m.

Con­gress ap­proved its first reg­u­lar spend­ing bill in years this past week, in a move hailed by many as a re­turn to fisc­al san­ity. But there’s a po­ten­tial danger for Re­pub­lic­ans lurk­ing in the depths of the $1.1 tril­lion om­ni­bus ap­pro­pri­ation pack­age that sailed through both houses: Obama­care.

While the GOP man­aged to win some con­ces­sions on the Af­ford­able Care Act, con­ser­vat­ives see the spend­ing bill as “fund­ing Obama­care,” as Red­State wrote. It’s ba­sic­ally the same thing that Ted Cruz and oth­er con­ser­vat­ives blocked a few months ago, for­cing a gov­ern­ment shut­down, and Cruz tried again to rally sup­port for block­ing the spend­ing bill.

Tea-party and con­ser­vat­ive groups railed against the bill, while Her­it­age Ac­tion warned law­makers to vote against the pack­age, say­ing that “by con­tinu­ing to fund im­ple­ment­a­tion of Obama­care, the om­ni­bus bill would con­tin­ue to en­tangle tax­pay­er dol­lars in abor­tion cov­er­age.” The bill passed, of course, thanks in part to the les­son of Oc­to­ber.

But it could still cre­ate prob­lems for Re­pub­lic­ans who face primary chal­lenges from the right — in­clud­ing for some who didn’t even vote for the bill.

Re­pub­lic­an Rep. Jack King­ston is fa­cing a tough Sen­ate primary in Geor­gia, and he will face off Sat­urday night against his op­pon­ents in the first de­bate of the race. He also hap­pens to be the chair­man of the Ap­pro­pri­ations sub­com­mit­tee re­spons­ible for health care fund­ing.

In Decem­ber, he said he would use his post to “do everything we can to try to de­fund [Obama­care] or dis­mantle it,” telling Fox News: “I’m chair­ing the com­mit­tee that ac­tu­ally de­funds Obama­care.” He was so com­mit­ted that oth­er ap­pro­pri­at­ors wor­ried they’d have to work around him to get a bill done.

Of course, the bill that emerged from his sub­com­mit­tee and then passed both cham­bers did not de­fund Obama­care. King­ston voted against the om­ni­bus pack­age (in fact he was the only ap­pro­pri­at­or to do so), but re­tir­ing Demo­crat­ic Sen. Tom Har­kin of Iowa, King­ston’s coun­ter­part in the up­per cham­ber, was not go­ing to let King­ston wipe his hands clean.

On Thursday, Har­kin took to the Sen­ate floor to thank King­ston for his help. “I’m proud to have worked out a fair agree­ment with my rank­ing mem­ber, Sen­at­or Jerry Mor­an from Kan­sas, as well as with my col­leagues on the House side, in­clud­ing Chair­man Jack King­ston,” Har­kin said. “No one got 100 per­cent of what they wanted in this bill, which is of­ten a sign of prob­ably a pretty good deal.” Har­kin went on to praise the fact that the bill in­cludes sev­er­al bil­lion in fund­ing for pro­grams he in­ser­ted in the Af­ford­able Care Act.

The re­tir­ing Demo­crat was “stir­ring the pot ahead of first GOP Sen­ate de­bate,” the Atlanta Journ­al Con­sti­tu­tion‘s Greg Bluestein noted. “Hav­ing any fin­ger­prints on the spend­ing plan may not go over well with ul­tra-con­ser­vat­ives who the can­did­ates are try­ing to win over.”

King­ston, of course, is in a unique po­s­i­tion as chair­man of the com­mit­tee that over­sees health care spend­ing. But if his con­ser­vat­ive primary chal­lengers take the bait to­night, he prob­ably won’t be the last Re­pub­lic­an to face heat for fund­ing Obama­care in the budget.

That might be part of the reas­on why some Re­pub­lic­ans want to forgo a budget en­tirely next time around.

A spokes­man for King­ston’s cam­paign did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

What We're Following See More »
SHARES THEIR LOVE STORY
Bill Clinton Gets Personal in Convention Speech
6 hours ago
THE DETAILS

“In the spring of 1971, I met a girl,” started Bill Clinton. In his speech Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention, Clinton brought a personal touch, telling parallel stories of his relationship with Hillary Clinton and the work she has done throughout her career. He lauded the Democratic nominee for her career of work, touching on her earliest days of advocacy for children and those with disabilities while in law school, her role as Secretary of State, and her work in raising their daughter, Chelsea. Providing a number of anecdotes throughout the speech, Clinton built to a crescendo, imploring the audience to support his wife for president. "You should elect her, she'll never quit when the going gets tough," he said. "Your children and grandchildren will be grateful."

LOUD “BLACK LIVES MATTER” CHANTS RING OUT
Mothers Of The Movement Endorse Hillary Clinton
9 hours ago
THE DETAILS

A coalition of mothers whose children lost their lives in high profile cases across the country, known as the Mothers Of The Movement, were greeted with deafening chants of "Black Lives Matter" before telling their stories. The mothers of Sandra Bland, Jordan Davis, and Trayvon Martin spoke for the group, soliciting both tears and applause from the crowd. "Hillary Clinton has the compassion and understanding to comfort a grieving mother," said Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin. "And that's why, in the memory of our children, we are imploring you — all of you — to vote this election day."

SOUTH DAKOTA GIVES HER CLINCHING DELEGATES
Clinton Officially Democratic Nominee for President
11 hours ago
THE DETAILS

With the South Dakota delegation announcing its delegate count, Hillary Rodham Clinton is officially the Democratic nominee for president, surpassing the 2383 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. Clinton is expected to speak at the convention on Thursday night and officially accept the nomination.

THE QUESTION
How Many People Protested in Philly Yesterday?
15 hours ago
THE ANSWER

About 5,500, according to official estimates. "The Monday figures marked a large increase from the protests at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where even the largest protests only drew a couple of hundred demonstrators. But it’s a far cry from the 35,000 to 50,000 that Philadelphia city officials initially expected."

Source:
NO BATTLEGROUND STATES LEAN TRUMP
NY Times’ Upshot Gives Clinton 68% Chance to Win
15 hours ago
THE LATEST

Only a day after FiveThirtyEight's Now Cast gave Donald Trump a 57% chance of winning, the New York Times' Upshot fires back with its own analysis that shows Hillary Clinton with a 68% chance to be the next president. Its model "calculates win probabilities for each state," which incorporate recent polls plus "a state's past election results and national polling." Notably, all of the battleground states that "vote like the country as a whole" either lean toward Clinton or are toss-ups. None lean toward Trump.

Source:
×