Beware the many bills that discreetly pass the House under suspension with bi-partisan support. Carefully scrutinize any legislative news headline announcing the passage of "non-controversial bills". Last night, more than a third of House Republicans granted Democrats a small, but gratuitous health care victory. 95 Republicans joined every Democrat to pass a provision of the original 2009 ObamaCare bill by a 280-138 margin. Republican leaders; Cantor, McCarthy, and Roskam opposed the bill.
The Veterinary Public Health Amendments Act (H.R. 525), sponsored by progressive extremist Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), was part of the original ObamaCare bill that passed the House in 2009, but was not included in the Senate version or the final reconciliation bill. Here are some of the provisions of H.R. 525 as summarized by the Republican Study Committee.
- Allows veterinarian schools to receive grant assistance from the Public Health Workforce Grant program.
- Individuals who will receive or have received a degree in veterinary public health can apply for and receive loan assistance under the Public Health Workforce Loan Repayment Program, a federal loan repayment program created in Obamacare. Title V, Section 5204 of Obamacare created this loan program which forgives student loan indebtedness for eligible public health professionals for up to $35,000 per year for three years.
- The bill defines the term “veterinary public health” to include veterinarians engaged in one or more of the following areas to the extent such areas have an impact on human health: biodefense and emergency preparedness, emerging and reemerging infectious diseases, environmental health, ecosystem health, pre-harvest and post-harvest food protection, regulatory medicine, diagnostic laboratory medicine, veterinary pathology, biomedical research, practice of food animal medicine in rural areas, and government practice.
Undoubtedly, some Republicans will dismiss the relevance of the bill as relating to a negligible expansion of a loan program. But there are several questions to consider. Why are we tweaking an ObamaCare program, while we should instead be vitiating the entire government intrusion into the health care sector? At a time when Republicans are floundering over small programs just to approach the diminutive $100 billion in promised cuts, isn't this program a small, yet superfluous program that should be cut? Why wasn't more opposition solicited from the conference members? Why did the GOP leadership schedule the vote on the suspension calendar in the first place?
Who would have thought last year that a robust Republican majority in the House would be unable to muster 146 members to block a suspension vote on a provision of ObamaCare? For what purpose did we win back the House again?