WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.), chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, delivered his 49th Waste of the Week speech and highlighted how the Obama Administration turned the Nonrecurring Expenses Fund (NEF) into a slush fund to pay for Obamacare.
The NEF is a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) fund created in 2008 as a way for HHS to use money that has expired for small, one-time construction and technology costs. Typically, HHS funds are available for five years and if they are not used within five years, they are considered “expired.” Before the NEF’s creation, these expired funds would typically go back to the Treasury Department to help reduce the federal deficit.
From fiscal years 2013 to 2016, the Obama Administration took more $1.3 billion from the NEF to prop-up failed Obamacare exchanges.
“Congress decided to create this NEF fund for health care facility construction and health technology purposes,” said Coats. “Unfortunately, it did not take long for the Obama Administration to essentially turn this into a slush fund. The administration used the NEF as an Obamacare penny bank.”
A large portion of the funds that go into the NEF are unused funds from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control.
“We are now debating how to best address the Zika virus, and I believe we should turn our eye to the NEF – not only as a way to help American families, but also as a way to prevent the Obama Administration from continuing to abuse money within the NEF,” said Coats. “I’m a supporter of NIH, and I would rather see money that Congress intended for NIH be used for medical research, not used as a slush fund that the administration uses as it sees fit, especially to prop up a flawed law.”