House votes to block IRS enforcement of Obamacare
It's a symbolic gesture, of course. The Senate will ignore it. But it's interesting because the GOP is sticking it to the IRS for both their involvement in Obamacare and the targeting scandal. Many lawmakers connected the two in floor speeches, saying that the IRS can't be trusted to enforce the Affordable Care Act because of their political bias.
The House voted Friday to prevent the IRS from enforcing any aspect of ObamaCare, a bill meant to exact revenge against an agency that Republicans say is incapable of neutral enforcement of the law.
Members approved the Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act in a 232-185 vote. Four Democrats supported the bill along with every Republican.
The vote capped off several days of work in the House on bills aimed at reining in government regulation and government overreach.
House Democrats cast the votes as merely for show, given opposition from the White House and the Senate majority. The Obama administration threatened to veto the IRS enforcement bill and said it would undermine the 2010 healthcare law that is aimed at expanding healthcare coverage
Some of these healthcare votes have created awkward moments for Democrats. Earlier this month, 22 Democrats voted with Republicans to delay the individual insurance mandate, and 35 voted to delay the employer mandate.
But Democrats mostly stuck together on Friday, as only four voted to pass the IRS bill: Reps. John Barrow (Ga.), Jim Matheson (Utah), Mike McIntyre (N.C.), and Collin Peterson (Minn.).
Friday's vote was the 40th time the House has tried to fully or partially repeal ObamaCare. But it was also a chance to slam the IRS, which Republicans say has shown itself unworthy of neutrally enforcing the controversial law.
"The IRS is already out of control, abusing its power to tax and audit the activities of honest, hardworking Americans," House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said. "The IRS has betrayed the trust of the American people.
"Democrats want to give this agency more power and authority?" he asked. "They want this agency involved in Americans' healthcare? No way."
It's hard to see what other government agency could enforce the individual mandate, which means as long as Obamacare is alive, the IRS will have jurisdiction.