Over at Maddow Blog, Steve Benen heads off the right wing lunacy and coming talking points:
Today House Republicans actually got to work investigating Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius's effort to raise money to implement the Affordable Care Act … the Obama administration sought additional resources from Congress to help enroll the public in coverage plans. Congressional Republicans, not surprisingly, refused the requests, hoping to sabotage the health care law. Sebelius has been forced to get creative, going to private-sector executives and non-profit organizations, asking for support.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) has compared this to Iran-Contra. “This is arguably an even bigger issue because, in Iran-Contra, you had $30 million that was spent by Oliver North through private organizations for a purpose congress refused to authorize, in support of the rebels. Here, you're wanting to spend millions more in support of private organizations to do something that Congress has refused.
"Illegal war:" I mean that quite literally -- Congress told the Reagan administration, in no uncertain terms, that Reagan could not send money to the Contras. Period. The Reagan administration, unrestrained by laws and the Constitution, did so anyway … In the case of the Affordable Care Act, Congress approved the law. For Alexander to see HHS implementing Obamacare as "even bigger" than Iran-Contra suggests the Republican is letting his hatred of a duly-elected two-term president cloud his judgment to an unhealthy degree.
What's more, Alexander hasn't just forgotten the basics of the Reagan scandal, he's also forgotten the basics of his own executive branch experience. A Democratic source reminded me last night that Alexander, during his tenure as a Bush/Quayle cabinet member, relied on private donations from outside Congress to help implement the administration's education agenda. Indeed, the same source noted that the Clinton administration relied on private-sector funds to implement the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and the Bush/Cheney administration relied on private-sector funds to implement Medicare Part D.
In Alexander's mind, are all of these efforts "even bigger" than Iran-Contra? Including his own efforts as Secretary of Education?