The Senate Reopen the The Government and Don’t Default bill

This post is based on the draft bill obtained and posted at wonkblog. It might be changd.

The one concession to Republicans (beyond the early September concession that the continuing resolution funds at sequestration levels) is “enhanced” verification of income of people claiming Obamacare subsidies.

There are three paragraphs. Paragraph one ust says the PPACA (Obamacare bill) is still law. The only addition is that the secretary of HHS has to “certify” that the law is being faithfully executed. This amounts to nothing cubed.


The second paragraph sys that not later than January 1st the secretary must submit a report to Congress explaining how HHS is obeaying the PPACA as already written. This is nothing squared. I think it is the sort of thing which Darell Issa could demand as part of normal oversight.


Finally the third paragraph almost amounts to more than nothing but doesn’t amount to something. The HHS insepctor general will have to report on the efforts to prevent fraud by July 1. Again this seems to me to be normal oversight. I don’t think a special legal provision is required.


Very importantly, the required income verification is absolutely explicitly as already required by the PPACA and no more. The Republicans argue that the procedures which have been announced by the HHS department do not fulfil the requirements of the law. They will argue this again in January and July. They have gained absolutely no power to impose their interpretation of a law (for which none of them voted) on the Executive branch.

The provisions allegedly related to Obmacare make no substantive changes. They just add two purely formwal requirments first that HHS has to say again (as it has already) that what it will do is OK and second that it must say if what it did was OK. I am quite sure that ISSA could impose all this on his own using his committees subpoena power.

This isn’t a fig leaf. It’s a cactus leaf.