BY LINDA BENTLEY | SEPTEMBER 25, 2013
Obamacare protested on Senate floor, heading to court of appeals
‘Because the tax originated in the Senate and not the House, it violates the Origination Clause’
WASHINGTON – Standing up for the majority of citizens who oppose the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), widely known as Obamacare, Sen. Ted Cruz (r), R-Texas, spoke on the Senate Floor for 21 hours and 19 minutes, 1 hour and 7 minutes shy of the 1953 record held by Sen. Wayne Morse, I-Ore, who filibustered for 22 hours and 26 minutes against the Tidelands Oil bill.
Cruz went from reading “Green Eggs and Ham,” to “Redneck Rules” to reading Twitter messages from citizens posting tweets to #MakeDCListen in opposition to Obamacare.
Meanwhile, the case of Matt Sissel v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, et al, challenging the ACA, dismissed by the D.C. District Court back in June, is heading for the D.C. Court of Appeals with his opening brief due on Oct. 24.
Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), representing Sissel, is challenging the ACA with a new constitutional cause of action.
Sissle’s case was on hold while the U.S. Supreme Court was considering the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and 26 states challenge to the ACA.
In the NFIB case, the Supreme Court characterized the charge to Americans for failure to purchase health insurance as a tax rather than a penalty, so PLF’s amended complaint alleges the tax is illegal because it was introduced in the Senate rather than the House, in violation of the Constitution’s Origination Clause.
Article 1, Section 7, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution states: “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.”
PLF’s initial complaint challenged the ACA’s individual mandate to purchase insurance as a violation of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause (Article 1, Section 8).
However, when Chief Justice John Roberts, joined by four justices, declared the ACA’s penalty a federal tax because it was a payment to the federal government from people who decide not to purchase health insurance, PLF Principal Attorney Paul J. Beard II (l) said, “If the charge for not buying insurance is seen as a federal tax, then a new question must be asked.”
He went on to say, “When lawmakers passed the ACA, with all its taxes, did they follow the Constitution’s procedures for revenue increases? The Supreme Court wasn’t asked and didn’t address this question in the NFIB case. The question of whether the Constitution was obeyed needs to be litigated, and PLF is determined to see this important issue all the way through the courts.”
The complaint asserts, “Despite the fact the Act raises considerable revenues, it originated in the Senate, not the House,” and, “Because the tax originated in the Senate and not the House, it violates the Origination Clause.”
Sissel asks the court to find the ACA’s requirement for individuals to maintain “minimal essential” health insurance coverage exceeds Congress’ authority under the Commerce Clause and find the “shared responsibility payment,” now considered a tax, a violation of the Origination Clause.
And, because the purchase requirement and associated “shared responsibility payment” are an integral component of the ACA, and its enforcement essential to the vindication of the ACA’s larger regulatory scheme, Sissel asks the court to permanently enjoin defendants, their agents, representatives and employees from enforcing, threatening to enforce, or otherwise giving effect to the ACA.
Sissel is also seeking reimbursement of costs, reasonable attorney fees and any other relief the court may deem just and proper.