Boehner Won't Say if GOP Has Any Plans to Curtail Any Part of Obamacare in Must-Pass Legislation

By Matt Cover | March 7, 2013 | 2:42pm EST

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

( – House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) would not say on Wednesday whether the Republican House leadership has any plans to curtail or de-fund any aspect of Obamacare in any must-pass legislation in this Congress.

This is despite the fact that Boehner himself declared a year ago that an Obamacare regulation requiring health-care plans to provide cost-free coverage for sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs was an unconstitutional violation of the free exercise of religion and that Congress would not let it stand.

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At his Capitol Hill press conference on Thursday, asked Speaker Boehner, “Are there any provisions that will curtail any aspects of Obamacare that you intend to attach to any must-pass legislation in this Congress? If so, what are they?"

Boehner responded: “The House believes that Obamacare will drive up the costs of health insurance in America, make it more difficult for employers to provide it. We have voted several times to defund Obamacare. I am sure we will again this year.”

However, under Boehner's leadership, the House or Representatives has never attached a provision to a must-pass federal funding bill that actually defunded Obamacare. All the must-pass funding bills approved by the House during Boehner's speakership have permitted funding for the implementation of Obamacare.

“There are other provisions in Obamacare that are having an effect on employers today," Boehner continued. "You know, the employer mandate starts January. But there are look-back procedures in the law that are effecting the way that employers hire their staff today. And so there are a lot of effects of Obamacare that we’re already starting to see. The House, I suspect, will have extensive oversight hearings on the devastating impact of this law on the American people.” asked again, “Will those efforts, to defund it again, go into must-pass bills?”

Boehner said, “We’ll take a look at each of these opportunities when we get there.”

Another reporter then asked, “Will it go into the budget?”

Boehner, frowning and opening his hands, said, “Ask Paul Ryan. I don’t know.”  Ryan (R-Wisc.) is the chairman of the House Budget Committee.

In a follow-up email to Boehner's press secretary, Michael Steel, asked: “Just wanted to circle back and take one more pass at this question from this morning's conference. The speaker didn't directly answer yes/no today and I wanted to give one more opportunity before posting. Q: Are there any provisions that will curtail any aspects of Obamacare that  you intend to attach to any must-pass legislation in this Congress?”

Steel responded: “I thought his answer was quite clear.”

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