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Reality Check: Bachmann On 'Surprise' Mandatory Spending

By Pat Kessler, WCCO-TV

ST. PAUL (WCCO) -- Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is raising eyebrows again -- this time over comments about the new health care bill. She's accusing President Obama of secretly inserting billions of dollars of mandatory spending into the measure without anyone knowing.

Bachmann's claim that the new health care bill contains mandatory spending is accurate. But her claim that she didn't understand what was in the bill is questionable.

On last Sunday's "Meet The Press," Bachmann said "$105 billion is a lot of money."

"You can't just slip that into a bill and not tell members of the House and not tell members of the Senate," she said.

IN FACT...

The Republican congresswoman's numbers come from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service.

It lists new health care spending, some of which is mandatory, and some not. But all of it is in the bill.

Here is the REALITY.

Most federal spending is mandatory, making it harder to change. Programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and now, parts of the new health care law.

What's interesting is that Bachmann says it's all a surprise.

Here's what you NEED TO KNOW.

Bachmann is a tax lawyer who built a national conservative reputation in large part because of her knowledge of -- and opposition to -- the federal health care law.

"Members of Congress didn't even know this money was in the bill," she said. "Because we couldn't read the bill before it was passed because it wasn't given to us."

That's NOT THE WHOLE STORY.

Congress debated health care for two years, but voted in one marathon 48-hour session.

Too fast for an actuarial analysis? House and Senate members disagree.

Bachmann's office sent us this written statement:

"Nancy Pelosi said, "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it" and it turns out this is the case. Democrat leaders never mentioned $105 billion in appropriated funding even to members of their own party before the bill was passed. This information recently came to light, so Rep. Bachmann is doing everything in her power to expose it and rescind the funding."

The conservative think tank Heritage Foundation recently issued a report outlining ways to repeal health care spending.

On Wednesday, a U.S. House Committee will open hearings to repeal some of the spending in the health care bill.

But repealing mandatory spending laws is more difficult than discretionary spending programs.

That's Reality Check.

To check the resources for Pat Kessler's Reality Check, click on the links below.

Bachmann's Website: Rescinding the $105 Billion Appropriated To ObamaCare
Appropriations and Fund Transfers in the PPACA
Summary Of New Health Reform Law
Federal Discretionary and Mandatory Spending
House passes health-care reform bill without Republican votes
No Time for Actuary to Analyze Health Care Bill
How to Limit the Damage from Obamacare—Pulling It Out Weed by Weed
House Republicans outline novel health reform defunding tactic

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