The PJ Tatler

Hey OMB, Why'd You Let HHS Spend $20 Million on ObamaCare PR?

A quartet of Republicans senators are demanding to know why the Office of Management and Budget allowed the Department of Health and Human Services to spending $20 million in ObamaCare funds on a PR campaign.

Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) sent a letter to the OMB today about the transfer of the Prevention and Public Health Fund monies to pay for a contract with D.C.-based public relations and consulting firm Porter Novelli for a nationwide multimedia campaign.

“If OMB did not know the Secretary of HHS took $20 million from the PPHF to pay for the health care law public relations campaign, then we would like to know what steps you plan to take in order to reconcile this matter. On the other hand, if OMB did approve this spending, please explain how you justify the HHS raiding a fund so important to the President that his senior advisors would recommend he veto legislation that uses it to implement a policy that he supports,” the senators wrote, referencing the GOP plan to pay for keeping student-loan interest rates at their current levels.

“We call on the President to immediately cancel this $20 million public relations contract. Adding to our concern, we anticipate the Supreme Court will rule on the health care law in the coming days,” the letter states.

“Does the HHS contract include a recoupment clause mandating the firm return the $20 million in taxpayer money to the federal government in the event the Supreme Court finds the law unconstitutional? What specific contingency plans are currently in place to recover these taxpayer dollars? We also ask that you clarify whether or not the Administration contemplated this scenario before HHS announced the contract award.”