The House of Representatives passed legislation Wednesday afternoon to make the fine/“tax” for violating Obamacare’s individual mandate $0 for this year, and it did so by the wide margin of 90 votes (250 to 160). That’s 83 more than the 7-vote margin (219 to 212) by which Obamacare passed the House four Marches ago. Moreover, 27 Democrats voted for today’s legislation—27 more than the number of Republicans who voted for Obamacare when it passed. In all, 223 Republicans voted for today’s bill, while only one—Paul Broun of Georgia—voted against it. Here’s the member-by-member tally for the vote.
Earlier today, the Obama White House released a 3-paragraph statement on the legislation, noting that Obamacare “helps millions of Americans stay on their parents’ plans until age 26”—which, of course, has nothing to do with the individual mandate or the fine/“tax” for violating it—and saying that if President Obama were presented with the legislation, “he would veto it.”
Given the wide margin by which the legislation passed the House, along with the significant level of bipartisan support with which it passed, perhaps the Senate will actually take a vote, pass the bill, and give Obama that chance. That would provide a welcome reminder to the American people of the extent to which Obama’s centerpiece legislation relies upon coercion.
But it also relies on lawlessness—a fact that is becoming more apparent by the day. Within hours of threatening to veto this legislative change to Obamacare, Obama announced that he is again making an executive change to Obamacare, in plain defiance of the legislative text, the rule of law, and the constitutional separation of powers. No wonder left-leaning constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley says that we are at “a constitutional tipping point” and that Congress must act to stop this president’s “dangerous,” “destabilizing” “aggregation of power.”
Jeffrey H. Anderson is executive director of the 2017 Project, which is working to advance a conservative reform agenda.