Republican Lawmakers Introduce Bills To Block IRS From Enforcing ACA
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) have introduced legislation (S 983, HR 2022) that would prohibit the Internal Revenue Service from enforcing the Affordable Care Act, The Hill's "Floor Action Blog" reports.
The legislation comes after the IRS recently admitted that it had placed extra scrutiny on tea party groups seeking tax-exempt status.
In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that the ACA's individual mandate is constitutional and that fines levied against people who fail to buy insurance under the mandate are allowable when viewed as taxes. Under the ACA, the IRS is tasked with enforcing the individual mandate.
Cornyn's bill -- titled the "Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act" -- also would prohibit the Treasury secretary from enforcing the ACA. "I do not support Obamacare, and after the events of last week, I cannot support giving the IRS any more responsibility or taxpayer dollars to implement a broken law," Cornyn said.
Black's measure would prevent the IRS from implementing the ACA tax until the agency has demonstrated that taxpayer information will not be used to politically target any individual or group that submits information to the agency. Black on Friday said that the creation of a federal data services hub -- used for the "implementation and enforcement of Obamacare" -- will lead to similar abuses unless steps are taking to prevent such action. Her measure is co-sponsored by GOP Reps. Charles Boustany (La.), Ralph Hall (Texas) and Mike Kelly (Pa.) (Cox, "Floor Action Blog," The Hill, 5/17).
IRS Official Linked to IRS Tax-Exempt Division Now Runs ACA Division
In related news, Republicans at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on Friday questioned former acting IRS Commissioner Steve Miller about whether the official who ran the agency's tax-exempt organization division from 2009 to 2012 knew about the targeting of conservative groups before her transfer to the agency's health care reform division, CQ Roll Call reports (Ethridge, CQ Roll Call, 5/17).
According to an ABC News report, Sarah Hall Ingram -- who ran the tax-exempt organization division at about the same time that the agency allegedly targeted conservative groups -- was promoted to lead the office in charge of enforcing the ACA (Wolfgang, Washington Times, 5/17).
In response to questions from Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), Miller said that Ingram was promoted because "she's a superb civil servant" (Howell, Washington Times, 5/17). He explained that Ingram was working in the ACA division in 2011 and 2012 and said that he did not believe she knew about the list of criteria used to evaluate conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status (Wolfgang, Washington Times, 5/17).Meanwhile, Democratic committee staff circulated an Associated Press report that posited Ingram was assigned to the ACA division in 2010, which according to a report from the Treasury's inspector general was prior to her subordinate learning about the targeting (CQ Roll Call, 5/17). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.