Boehner Challenges Constitutionality of Health Reform Law

By Cullen Dirner

Nov 16, 2010 5:59pm

ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports:

Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner, R-Ohio, filed an amicus brief Tuesday challenging the constitutionality of the individual mandate in the health care law passed by Democrats earlier this year.

“ObamaCare is a job-killer, and our economy simply cannot afford this unprecedented, unconstitutional power grab by the federal government,” Boehner stated Tuesday evening. “That is why Republicans will continue standing with the American people and fighting to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with better solutions put forth in the Pledge to America to lower health care costs and protect American jobs.”

Boehner’s amicus brief was filed in support of a lawsuit brought by 20 state attorneys general and the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), the nation’s largest small business association. The brief seeks to overturn what Boehner says is a “government takeover of health care that is costing jobs, increasing costs, and jeopardizing coverage for millions of Americans.”

“I’m proud to join these states and the NFIB in their ongoing effort to overturn this job-killing health care law and protect American workers from its devastating impact.”  Boehner said.

In the brief, Boehner says that the Obama Administration has distorted the Constitution to increase congressional power, which in turn compromises the integrity of the legislative process, and undermines accountability to the American people.

Republican aides privately speculate that Boehner could use the first bill of the next session of Congress to repeal health care.

Last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, asked Senate Republicans to join him in signing onto a similar amicus brief that outlined his argument against the constitutionality of the health care law. McConnell is expected to file the brief later this week.

“For the first time, the Congress is not regulating an economic activity in which its citizens have chosen to engage, but rather is mandating that its citizens engage in economic activity—that they purchase a particular product—to begin with, and it would allow the federal government to punish those who make a different choice,” McConnell wrote in a letter to Senate Republicans last Tuesday. “Second, the brief argues that if the Individual Mandate is deemed constitutional, there will no longer be any meaningful limit on Congress’s power to regulate its citizens under the Commerce Clause.”

ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe contributed to this report

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