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July 16, 2013

Awww, you're in trouble now

From Tony Pugh, Health Care reporter: 

One month after Education Secretary Arne Duncan said his department would help inform schools about the Affordable Care Act, Senate Republicans on Tuesday put Duncan in their Obamacare crosshairs.

A group of 19 GOP senators sent Duncan a letter on Tuesday requesting oodles of information about the education department's efforts to spread the word about the health care law. Congressional Republicans staunchly oppose the law and are actively working to block additional federal funding for all outreach and public awareness efforts surrounding the ACA.

"While we understand that the effects of the President’s health care law will be felt by parents, teachers, and their families, we are unfamiliar with how the Department of Education’s involvement in implementation will further the mission of educating our nation’s students," the letter reads.

In a videotaped interview with Politico newspaper last month, Duncan said his department had a "team" helping on ACA implementation and that his department will work with individual schools, school districts and universities that request assistance on the law.

"If people have questions or need additional information, need people to come out, need webinars, whatever it might be, we stand ready, willing and able to help," Duncan said.

The GOP lawmakers want to know how much DOE is spending on ACA implementation, where the money is coming from and whether education staffers are working with the Department of Health and Human Services on implementation.

"What specific actions are you asking schools to take without additional federal resources?," the letter reads. "How does that not constitute an unfunded mandate?"

The senators want a detailed explanation of the education department's involvement by July 30.

I feel a hearing coming on. 


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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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