November 26, 2013

Photo: Newscom

Did you hear about the bill introduced a few years ago to provide tax credits for veterans purchasing new homes? It originated in the House of Representatives and was called H.R. 3590. Doesn’t sound familiar? Maybe that’s because after it was sent to the Senate, it was completely gutted and rewritten, save for the name — H.R. 3590. Today it is known as Obamacare.

Last year, the Supreme Court ruled Obamacare’s individual mandate to be a tax. And the Constitution’s Origination Clause does not allow the Senate to introduce any legislation that would raise revenue.

Heritage Foundation expert Hans van Spakovsky and Michael Flynn explain:

The Origination Clause provides: ‘All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.’ Our Founding Fathers understood that the power to tax, if abused, involved the power to destroy. They viewed the Origination Clause as a safeguard for liberty by insisting that the power to initiate new taxes should be left with the lawmakers who were most directly accountable to voters—members of the House, who are elected every two years in local districts.

Today, 40 members of the House of Representatives, led by Rep. Trent Franks (R–AZ), have filed an amicus brief challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare. Von Spakovsky and Flynn summarize their argument:

While all bills raising revenue must originate in the House, the Senate is allowed to amend such spending bills. However, Franks and his colleagues argue that because the original veterans’ bill did not “raise revenue” and was entirely unrelated to health care, it would stretch the notion of “amending” bills to include complete demolition of a bill’s language and intent, then inserting completely new language on an unrelated issue.

The prospects don’t look good for the case — it has already been dismissed by a federal district court, though an appeal has been filed. As Franks recently said on the floor, failure to enforce the Origination Clause “would allow the Obama administration to blow yet another hole in the constitutional fabric of this noble republic.”

Read more about the Origination Clause in the Heritage Guide to the Constitution.

Do you think Franks and his colleagues will be successful in this latest challenge to Obamacare?

Comments (23)

rich - November 26, 2013

Yes, I think since its a tax that it must originate from the house,or its unconstitutional.We need a grass roots petition to repeal it by the majority of the people.Who will stand with us ?

undunder - November 26, 2013

No, I do not think this latest effort will succeed as much as I’d like it to. I think liberal activist judges, especially those on the Supreme court including but not limited to CJ Roberts will bend the constitution in order to protect this albatross piece of legislation. It is hurting America. It is hurting American businesses. It is hurting and has the potential to crush healthcare providers. It is hurting and will severely limit access to healthcare. It will not lower costs unless you consider the cost savings of care never provided. think the IPAB. Will it, like the IRS, be used to hurt political opponents? Will healthcare be used as a tool in the form of bribes or threats against the presidents political opponents or anyone else who dares question his agenda? I think based on the past 5 years, that we all know the answers to these questions, are troubling “yes”s.

William Hughes - November 26, 2013

Here we go. “Pissing up a rope” again. Supreme Court has already ruled on Constitutionality of Obama Care. We can thank Chief Justice Roberts for his interpretation. A wasted conservative appointment if there ever was one. Short term-GOP needs to control the Senate. Long term, GOP needs the Presidency. I have not seen any significant effort to achieve either. Fate put the rollout fiasco on the GOP’s plate. GOP doesn’t know what to do with it.

william f. bell - November 26, 2013

If I told you what I think you wouldn’t print it.

Herb1949 - November 26, 2013

The socialist SC is going to rule that the law is constitutional.
I agree with William Hughes, the GOP has the chance to really do somiething, and they will blow the chance because there are too many like McCain and McConnell that would rather bash real conservatives that do what is right for the country.

Neva M. - November 26, 2013

The Supreme Court said it was tax. Therefore, Obamacare has to originate in the House, and not by
Senator Reid etal changing the entire language of the bill to an entirely different bill. A gross misrepresentation and in my humble opinion fraud. Justice Roberts gave the House the clue to overturn it.

Mike Haines - November 26, 2013

No, I do not. I agree with other posts here. It may have had impact if brought to court when it went to the Supreme Court, but that was then and this is now. This will go down just like the other 40 ‘defund’ bills did, another failed embarrassment for the GOP. But we all really do wish them the best of luck.

Brenda Ferra - November 26, 2013

I fear it will not make it to the Supreme Court unless CJ Roberts will use it to correct the error he made in his first ruling. I don’t understand how he as a Supreme Court Justice can rewrite the law to change the language from a penalty to a tax in the first place and that only deals with the penalty if you do not buy insurance. What about using the Commerce Clause to force we the people to buy a product from a private business that we don’t want. Look what is happening now, everyone who had insurance is being or will be stripped of that insurance to force them to buy Obama’s specific brand of insurance which we don’t want. John Roberts’ ruling was a great disappointment on this one. It seems to me he was doing what was politically easier rather than upholding the Constitution, which he swore to do.

Holly Chapo - November 26, 2013

I can only hope but cannot make a prediction based upon present knowledge. We were totally blindsided by Roberts’ abysmal decision and there are still hard line leftists on the court, including Ginsburg who had the temerity to trash the Constitution. Those making the argument had better be rigorous in their preparation and eloquent in front of the justices. I wish “we the people” could have a say in the proceedings. Maybe then we could get a proper ruling.

lynn - November 26, 2013

no, I think there are too many RINOs in congress and a whole lot of junior dems in the republican party. too many senate and house members are pushing us to a “one world government.” except for the tea party and like minded americans bailing us out – we’re doomed to socialism or communism. I want old America back – cut back the government programs and spending.

Ellen Elmore - November 26, 2013

I do not think Franks and his colleagues will be successful in their challenge to Obamacare. Obama and his policies are untouchable. Nothing negative sticks to this president. I call him the Teflon president. The Supreme Court will always side with Obama because they are afraid if they don’t they will be called racists.

William Siems - November 27, 2013

If it were to pass – and that’s doubtful because the Dems and the complicit media will demagogue it to death – it won’t pass until the Socialist-in-Chief leaves office. This does have constitutional standing due to the revenue-raising part, but the media will not inform the public and this will go over the heads of the vast majority of the uninformed public.

Doug Lyle - November 27, 2013

Technically, yes. I have wondered why Justice Roberts ruled the way he did…seemed like he caved to liberal pressure. Perhaps not. By ruling it a “tax”, he left the way open for just such a suit as this one. The Senate clearly usurped the role of the House by gutting the veterans bill and replacing it with Obamacare. Since the “tax” thus originated in the Senate, it violates the Origination clause. That said, there is sadly nothing to prevent the Supreme Court from ignoring the Constitution issue and ruling politically in favor of Obamacare.

Chris Frame - November 27, 2013

No I do not think it will succeed and I think it is another wasted effort by the Rs. I think it is a grandstanding ploy all in an effort those the Rs can “appear as acting on behalf of their constituents come election time. All conservative causes should be demanding that John Boehner start pushing back on Obama. Can anyone site some examples of Zjohn Boehner pushing back on Obama, or Reid, or Pelosi? Obama lacks leadership, but Boehner is certainly no better. The Rs should allow this fiasco of ACA to continue to unravel! Why associate with a loser program? Create a media blitz that points out the shortfalls of the program, and broadcast the proposed fuc or fixes. And, per Obama repeatedly, “they submitted no healthcare proposals of their own.” I think that is another boldface lie and the Ra should be offering solutions or presenting other programs that do work to provide healthcare for all people. The rich, the middle class, and the poor all want healthcare for all. Lets find a solution. And by the way John Boehner, step up and END ALL SUBSIDIES TO CONGRESS! HOW CAN WE TAKE ANYTHING YOU SAY AS FOR THE BEST INTEREST OF AMERICA WHEN YOU HAVE YOUR HAND OUT? YOU ARE SERVING YOUR COUNTRY….YOU ARE NOT A PATIENT OF AMERICA!

Chris Frame - November 27, 2013

And regarding that marketing blitz, the Rs need to hire marketing experts from P&G, Coca-Cola, Mars Candy, or the like and learn how to reach America. Probably a good place to start is to rid the cause of Carl Rove. Results speak for themselves and look no further than the 2012 Election! It is all about Sales & Marketing and us Rs got none!

Linda - November 27, 2013

Justice Roberts handed to them on a silver platter in his opinion. WHY has it taken so long to get this going? Was this a strategy – like waiting until the people overwhelmingly backed a repeal? I pray there is time now…

John Huston - November 27, 2013

Someone, somehow has to stop the ACA before it destroys the whole individual insurance coverage and in the end destroys the economy of the United States as a Nation. Obama has no respect for the Constitution. He is nothing short of a con artist, bate and switch at it’s finest.

Dwight Reese - November 27, 2013

Yes! By any and all means. The low information voter of this country elected a socialist president, for God sake.

Richard Sims - November 27, 2013

Look, in regards to O’care, it’s wrong (read the Commerce Clause). It’s expensive. It won’t work. It’s illegal. Nobody wants it. Obama likes it and he’s going to get it instituted regardless of the damage to a free America. Get used to it! Obama has three more years to finish us off and it’s going to happen. Impeachment? Don’t hold your breath. Look at what we get if he’s impeached and convicted – Biden? Boehner? Kerry? John Roberts? Might as well stay with the devil we know as the devil we don’t.

Tom Eisenhart - November 27, 2013

I think that they have zero chance of success.
The constitution clearly lays out precisely what kinds of taxes the federal government can levy. ObamaCare fits NONE of them. But that didn’t even slow down justice roberts; not even slow him down. Why should I believe that a “stretching” of the Origination Clause would have any more effect that a clear and obvious violation.

Dottie - November 27, 2013

As much as I would like to see this latest effort to succeed, I am afraid it will not. We do not have the correct judges in either the DC Circuit or Supreme Court to actually uphold the constitution and quit being politically minded in their decisions. It is a valiant effort but ………………….

Dan Edgar - November 27, 2013

No. The argument is technical and weak. The Supreme Court bent over backwards to justify ACA’s constitutionality, and if it agrees to hear this case, will do so again. ACA needs to be repealed; that is up to congress, as it should be.

B Glenn - November 30, 2013

It must originate from the House who is always the arbiter of monetary matters. I hate when they do something illegal under the guise of it being something other than what it is. No one on earth believes this is a bill about tax credits for veterans purchasing new homes. In the private sector you would lose your job if you pretended this would fool your management.

I think we should make every effort to correct the illegality of Obamacare. I will say though that even if they can’t find a legislative, judicial, or executive with the guts to overturn this, I will never support something that kills a children at even greater levels than we have reached. I will not buy a product I don’t want or like because my government thinks it can bully me into parting with my money for nonsense. I will not put my personal information on a website that doesn’t even have basic security measures implemented. I would never buy healthcare from the government, which offers less and costs more than coverage available in the private sector. I could go on but I think you get my drift. I would like a show of hands of the people who support this joke of a program. We are going to ask you grateful slobs to foot the 3/4 of a billion dollars spent to create a website that after three years doesn’t work. Talk about “pissing up a rope”. I assure you Mr. Hughes, the GOP knows exactly what to do with Obamacare. Modesty has forbidden that to date, but somehow I feel that is all about to change. I don’t blame Obama; we know what he is about. I don’t blame dems and reps. I blame the voters who have allowed this to happen on their watch and over the course of two elections.

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