Today, I voted in favor of the Interest Rate Reduction Act (H.R. 46828), legislation that will roll back wasteful Obama Care spending to pay for a one year extension of the current interest rate on subsidized Stafford Loans made to undergraduate students. The president has visited various battleground states urging Congress to prevent an interest rate spike his party set in motion in 2007. But now that House Republicans are taking action, Washington Democrats have decided to dangerously politicize and distort the facts.
House Democrats have grossly claimed that the Republican plan will “hurt women and children” because H.R. 4682 repeals the so-called Prevention and Public Health Fund, an Obama Care grant program that has become little more than a multi-billion dollar slush fund for the president to spend on his own priorities, and redirects its resources to student loan relief and deficit reduction. Democrats vehemently protest this plan while strategically ignoring four crucial facts:
Not Too Long Ago, Democrats Cut the Slush Fund Too
In February, Congress took action to stop a payroll tax increase on millions of working families. To ensure the tax relief did not add to the deficit, the legislation (H.R. 3630) cut $5 billion from the ObamaCare prevention fund. The bill received the support of 147 House Democrats, including Democrat leaders:
- Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Democrat Leader
- Rep. George Miller (D-CA), Ranking Democrat on the House Education Committee
- Rep. Dale Kildee (D-MI), Ranking Democrat on the Higher Education Subcommittee
- Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT)
Democrats were in favor of raiding the ObamaCare slush fund before they were against it.
President Obama Supported Slashing the Slush Fund – TWICE
The president has called on Congress to do many controversial things. However, House Democrats didn’t raise any red flags when the president urged Congress to adopt his so-called American Jobs Act, a proposal that included a $3.5 billion cut to the president’s own Prevention and Public Health Fund. Perhaps House Democrats took the president at his word when he declared:
“There should be nothing controversial about this piece of legislation.”
Six months later, President Obama introduced his Fiscal Year 2013 budget request. Even in a budget that adds $11 trillion to the national debt, the president’s still demands a $4 billion cut to the ObamaCare slush fund.
The Slush Fund Abuses Taxpayer Dollars
The ObamaCare slush fund has a consistent record of wasting taxpayer dollars and even engaging in potentially unlawful activity. Here are some examples of how the Obama administration has been using the fund to squander taxpayer resources:
- A public clinic in Nashville, Tennessee used the money to offer free preventive services to dog and cats, not women and children.
- $3 million went to lobby lawmakers in New York for legislation requiring chain restaurants to publicly post the amount of calories they serve.
- $7 million was used to urge Alabama lawmakers to raise tobacco taxes on working families.
- $16 million was allocated to help secure a ban on new fast food restaurants around Los Angeles.
Such waste has become so prevalent the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is investigating how these funds are being spent.
A Host of Other Government Programs Offer Preventive Services
At a hearing convened yesterday, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was forced to admit services outside the Prevention and Public Health Fund remain available to individuals who seek preventive care, such as:
- Cancer prevention and care, including breast and cervical cancer screenings;
- Screenings for birth defects and developmental disabilities;
- Tobacco prevention at the Center for Disease Control; and
- Efforts that promote healthy nutrition and physical activity to prevent obesity.
To recap, the Republican student loan bill will:
- Stop the interest rate on subsidized Stafford Loans from doubling;
- Pay for student loan relief by cutting funding to an ObamaCare slush fund;
- End an abuse of taxpayer dollars and reduce the federal deficit; and
- Allow existing preventive and health services to continue.
It seems Democrats in Washington will find any excuse to pick a political fight and protect ObamaCare, even if it means raising interest rates on America’s struggling college graduates.