November 26, 2013
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.
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.”
Do you think Franks and his colleagues will be successful in this latest challenge to Obamacare?