Monday, May 14, 2012

Blackburn amendment would deny funding to DOJ for future defense of ACA

Even if the U.S. Supreme Court rules if favor of the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), it is, of course, possible, and even likely that additional lawsuits will be filed to challenge it. If the GOP has its way, however, the government's defense of the ACA may prove to be a bit more difficult the next time around.

On Wednesday, May 9, an amendment that would prevent Department of Justice (DOJ) from using funds to defend the ACA was added to H.R. 5326, an appropriations bill for the Departments of Commerce and Justice, Science, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013. The amendment was sponsored by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and it's not surprising that it passed the Republican-controlled House, with 229 in favor of the amendment and 194 against it.

The amendment would also prohibit the DOJ from defending any action challenging certain provisions of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-152), which made  health-related financing and revenue changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

According to a press release entitled "Blackburn Amendment Handcuffs DOJ’s Ability to Defend Obamacare" that turned up on Blackburn's website, the "amendment prohibits DOJ from spending funds we don’t have in defense of a program the American people do not want," Blackburn said. "The Supreme Court has heard arguments and is set to reveal their decision on the constitutionality of the President’s health care mandate next month. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land and DOJ should not need additional resources for any future defense."


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