On Friday, Congressman Ben Quayle introduced a constitutional amendment to ensure that taxes passed by Congress are labeled as such during the legislative process. Please see Congressman Quayle’s statement on the amendment, as well as media mentions below.
WASHINGTON (DC) – Congressman Ben Quayle released the following statement after introducing a constitutional amendment to ensure that taxes passed by Congress are labeled as such during the legislative process. Obamacare was upheld by the Supreme Court on the basis that the individual mandate fell under Congress’ right to lay and collect taxes, even though the mandate was never labeled a tax by the bill’s proponents.
“Most Americans figured out long ago that President Obama had attempted to sell them a bill of goods with Obamacare. Yesterday, the Supreme Court confirmed it. The President stated clearly, and on multiple occasions that the individual mandate was not a tax as he sold it to Congress and the American people. However, he was more than happy to see the Supreme Court uphold the law on the basis that it is in fact a tax.
“My amendment requires that all taxes levied by Congress be labeled honestly and openly as taxes during the legislative process. The American people deserve to know the full implications and consequences of legislation passed by Congress. Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision illustrated plainly the dangers of deceptive labeling by our leaders.”
Republican proposes constitutional amendment to fight healthcare ruling
Rep. Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.) has proposed fighting back against the Supreme Court’s healthcare decision by amending the Constitution so that no law can be considered a tax unless Congress designates it as a tax.
Conservatives were left confused and angry by the court’s decision to hold that the 2010 law’s requirement to buy health insurance, backed by penalties, could be seen as consistent with the Constitution if viewed as a tax. That decision prompted Republicans to argue that the law itself clearly identifies the monetary fine as a penalty for failing to buy insurance, and note that President Obama also repeatedly stressed that this penalty is not a new tax.
“The president stated clearly, and on multiple occasions, that the individual mandate was not a tax as he sold it to Congress and the American people,” Quayle said. “However, he was more than happy to see the Supreme Court uphold the law on the basis that it is, in fact, a tax.
“My amendment requires that all taxes levied by Congress be labeled honestly and openly as taxes during the legislative process,” Quayle added. “The American people deserve to know the full implications and consequences of legislation passed by Congress.”
Quayle’s amendment, H.J.Res. 114, would hold simply that, “No provision of law shall be construed as having been made in execution of the power of Congress to lay and collect taxes unless such law has been designated by Congress as a tax.”
Conservatives began picking apart the Supreme Court’s decision as it relates to taxes versus penalties as soon as it was released last Thursday.
Both Thursday and Friday evening, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) took to the floor to highlight what he said were inconsistencies with Chief Justice John Roberts’s decision to side with liberal judges that the individual mandate could essentially be seen as a constitutional tax on people who choose to go without healthcare.
For example, Gohmert noted that the court had to first decide whether it could take up the case at all under the Anti-Injunction Act. That act says the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction over tax cases until the tax in question has been assessed, and in this case, the penalty for not buying health insurance will not kick in until 2014.
But here, the court found that the penalty is not a tax. Roberts wrote:
“The Affordable Care Act does not require that the penalty for failing to comply with the individual mandate be treated as a tax for purposes of the Anti-Injunction Act. The Anti-Injunction Act therefore does not apply to this suit, and we may proceed to the merits.”
Gohmert said that this shows Roberts was not inclined to treat the penalty as a tax for this part of the decision. But later, after deciding that the individual mandate cannot be seen as constitutional under Commerce Clause powers, Roberts decided the penalty can be viewed as a tax, the key decision that allowed the individual mandate to stand.
“The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a ‘tax.’ ”
Regardless of the apparent inconsistency identified by Gohmert, House Republicans have said the court’s ruling means the only way to eliminate the healthcare law is to repeal it. Republicans have scheduled a July 11 vote to repeal the law, and have framed the ruling as a reason to vote against Obama this November.
Rep. Quayle proposes amendment to clearly label new taxes after ObamaCare ruling
Freshman Rep. Ben Quayle, R-Ariz., on Friday introduced a constitutional amendment requiring Congress to clearly label new taxes in light of the Supreme Court ruling that upheld the health care overhaul.
The 5-4 Supreme Court decision, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, reasoned that the individual mandate was constitutional because the fine for lacking insurance fell under congressional authority to levy taxes. That’s not how the law was originally sold.
Quayle argued his amendment would improve transparency when Congress passes legislation that introduces higher taxes.
“The American people deserve to know the full implications and consequences of legislation passed by Congress. Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision illustrated plainly the dangers of deceptive labeling by our leaders,” Quayle said.
Democrats denied during the bill’s passage that the mandate penalty amounted to a tax. And during a press conference Thursday after the Supreme Court announced its decision, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., dismissed the tax framing as “Washington talk.”
The White House continues to describe the fine as a “penalty.”