ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports:
After the Senate failed to repeal the Democrats' health care reform law Wednesday evening, and just days after a federal judge ruled that the individual mandate in the health care reform law is unconstitutional, House GOP Vice Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers is introducing a bill today aimed at stopping IRS enforcement of the controversial provision that would require every America buy health insurance or face a fine.
The bill would save taxpayers about $10 billion, according to McMorris Rodgers, by forbidding the IRS from hiring 17,000 new government employees necessary to implement the individual mandate.
“As two federal judges have already ruled, the individual mandate is clearly unconstitutional, and the IRS – just like every government agency – has a duty to uphold the Constitution,” McMorris Rodgers, R-Washington, said. “Our bill will protect the constitutional right of every American to decide what health care is best for themselves and their families, while also saving taxpayers about $10 billion by preventing yet another unnecessary increase in the number of government employees.”
As required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed by the Democratic Congress and signed into law by President Obama last year, taxpayers must purchase health care insurance by 2014 or face a fine from the IRS. According to McMorris Rodgers, her bill, H.R. 434, would prevent the IRS from using any funds – now or in the future – to hire new employees to enforce the individual mandate.
Wednesday night, Senate Democrats successfully blocked a Republican effort to repeal the health care bill with a vote divided stricly down party lines, 51-47. Sixty votes were required to move past a budget point of order in the Senate, a procedural vehicle used by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to move the repeal forward.
Earlier this week, U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson declared that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, and ruled that the entire Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional.
So far, two judges have ruled in favor of the law, and two have struck down its central provision. To date, 28 states are challenging the individual mandate’s constitutionality in court.