On Thursday, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that the Obama administration exceeded its authority by subsidizing health insurers who participate in the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. Former Speaker John Boehner and House Republicans filed the lawsuit claiming that the reimbursements were unconstitutional because the money for the reimbursements had not been appropriated by Congress. The judge’s decision was put on hold due to a likely appeal by the executive branch.
The ruling is significant for several reasons. First, if it stands, the decision will clarify the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches, and specifically the power of the purse. It also represents one of the few successes Republicans have had in limiting the health care law.
After the GOP took over the House in 2010, there were numerous efforts to limit or repeal the law, from failed repeal measures to a government shutdown over spending that ultimately proved futile. Meanwhile the GOP base grew angrier and angrier that its representatives were unable to stop the measure’s implementation. Much of that frustration led to the rise of Donald Trump. But, as Carl Hulse describes in the New York Times, the lawsuit is a bittersweet victory for Boehner:
Despite his efforts, Mr. Boehner was ultimately forced out of the speakership last year by a group of hard-right conservatives who viewed him as not aggressive enough in calling the administration to account. But their tactics failed, while his have produced some actual results, however the case ultimately turns out at the appeals court level.
Reactions from the Georgia delegation are below the fold.
Senator David Perdue:
This ruling is a resounding victory for our Constitution. The Founding Fathers purposefully created three separate branches of government with three clear roles, and for too long, we have seen President Obama overstep his authority and insert Washington into every aspect of our lives. President Obama’s time in office is coming to an end and rulings like this signal that many of President Obama’s overreaching policies could soon be coming to an end too.
3rd District Congressman Lynn Westmoreland:
Today’s ruling is a huge win for the American taxpayers. The Obama Administration has constantly overstepped its bounds and disrespected the separation of powers as laid out in the Constitution. This ruling reinforces that the House has the power of the purse and shows what we’ve known all along: that ObamaCare is deeply flawed and wasteful of American’s tax dollars.
6th District Congressman Tom Price:
The ruling proves a momentous victory for the rule of law and against the Obama Administration’s overreach of Constitutional authority. This historic decision defies the Obama’s Administration’s ask that the courts disregard the letter of the law and reasserts Congress’s power of the purse as defined by our nation’s founders in Article One of the Constitution.
In recent weeks, we’ve seen insurers announce that they will exit the exchange markets in 2017, further deteriorating patients’ access and choice to health care plans that they want. This is yet again proof that Obamacare is on an unsustainable path, and House Republicans must remain committed to repealing and replacing this law. As a member of the Health Care Task Force, I’m honored to be working with my colleagues to advance positive, patient-centered solutions to the challenges in our health care system.
7th District Congressman Rob Woodall:
The issue at the center of this lawsuit is one that has unfortunately become very common with regard to the Obama Administration – and that is executive overreach. The court’s ruling is yet another rejection of these unconstitutional actions, and it is a win for American taxpayers and the Constitution.
9th District Coongressman Doug Collins:
Circumventing Congressional approval in order to secure funding for a costly and burdensome healthcare law is unconstitutional, and we can see Obamacare, which has been a mess from the beginning, coming apart at the seams. Today’s ruling by the DC federal court shows that the President does not have the Congressional pocketbook at his disposal, and is a victory for the separation of powers. The Constitution is very clear on who has the power of the purse. This decision reaffirms that the President does not unilaterally have the power to spend taxpayer money on his ill-conceived signature piece of legislation.
14th district Congressman Tom Graves:
This is a major win for the Constitution, which explicitly grants Congress ‘power of the purse.’ The court decision makes clear that the Executive Branch can’t fund programs if Congress hasn’t given the administration the necessary resources. In this case, if the ruling stands, the administration’s unconstitutional funding of Obamacare subsidies will end, and Republicans will have an opportunity to advance affordable free-market solutions that strengthen the patient doctor relationship, while providing a variety of choices to meet the uniqueness of every family. This is a good day for Americans who want constitutional governance and health care freedom.