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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sebelius Contradicts Administration’s Legal Defense of Obamacare

In a stunning video from a hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee today, Kathleen Sebelius contradicted the Obama administration Department of Justice’s official stance on the individual mandate by denying that the mandate was a tax. You can watch the video here

Sebelius is the latest administration official to contradict the Justice Department’s official stance. Almost two weeks ago, White House Budget Director Jeffrey Zients said the same thing.

The Obama Justice Department’s case that Obamacare is constitutional hinges on the idea that the mandate is no different from any other tax in that it effectively “raises taxes” on everyone who disobeys it by expropriating money from them. This particular defense was explored by the Heritage Foundation when it was first introduced:

The New York Times confirmed Friday that in preparation for defending constitutionality of the Obamacare individual mandate in court, an Obama Justice Department legal brief argues that the penalty used to enforce the mandate is “a valid exercise” of Congress’s power to impose taxes. Mr. Obama’s own Justice Department further repudiates the President’s earlier statement by noting that the penalty is imposed and collected under the Internal Revenue Code, people must report it on their tax returns, and that the Congressional Budget Office estimates that it will cost Americans $4 billion a year. Yale Law School professor Jack Balkin told a meeting of progressive activists last month that President Obama “has not been honest with the American people about the nature of this bill. This bill is a tax.” 

(Continues here)

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