Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Steve King (R-IA) are “best friend in Congress.” The two most outspoken conservative firebrands in the House often appear together at tea party events, have each suggested the other should run for president, and even share staff with each other. They have also both led the GOP charge against Obama’s health reform.
But all is not well between the tea party King and Queen in the House. King has proposed using a temporary bill to fund the government as a means to defund the health law, but Republicans on the House Rules Committee rebuked King yesterday by sidelining his effort. They noted that funding for the health reform law is mandatory, so it cannot be changed by a continuing resolution, which only addresses discretionary spending. King, however, remains defiant and vowed he would still introduce his legislation.
One would expect Bachmann to join King in his call to defund the health law by any means necessary, whether practicable or not, but in an interview with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham yesterday, Bachmann said King’s effort was pointless. Refusing to disagree that King “just doesn’t understand the process,” Bachmann noted that the law’s funding cannot be changed through a continuing resolution, and that it would still need to pass the Senate and a veto threat from Obama. Bachmann said she was “sick about it,” but just couldn’t being herself to support King’s effort:
INGRAHAM: Do you agree with what Congressman Steve King said yesterday or the day before about the move to defund Obamcare in this continuing resolution?. … Why didn’t that happen?
BACHMANN: Well, this is what people need to know. … There literally — unless the president and [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid agree with us, there isn’t a way for us to have defunded Obamacare.
INGRAHAM: So Steve King, congressman from Iowa, just doesn’t understand the process? There’s no way to change the House rules to consider a special amendment to defund Obamacare. No way to do it at all?
BACHMANN: Well, he and I talked about it over the weekend. And I talked to a special appropriations guy because I was sick about it — Steve King and I are best friends. And we both want to get Obamacare defunded. That’s the must have. The problem is the only way we could do it is if Obama and Harry Reid agreed with what we wanted to do.
Indeed, Bachmann is correct in noting that King’s effort is futile, but the mere fact that an idea is silly or doomed to failure has never stopped Bachmann in the past. And even if she disagreed with King, it’s surprising that she would say so publicly. Could this signal a rift between these tea party BFFs?