GOP Lawmakers Back Lawsuit Over Obamacare Subsidy for Congress

Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 07:14 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson has garnered the backing of 38 other Republicans for a lawsuit filed against the Obama administration contending it is illegally subsidizing Affordable Care Act coverage for lawmakers and staff, The Washington Times reported.

The lawsuit filed in a federal court in Wisconsin decries as "special treatment" the subsidized coverage congressional members and staffers get via the District of Columbia healthcare exchange. It claims that the administration exceeded its legal authority by providing the subsidy,  according to Johnson.

Among the GOP lawmakers who have associated themselves with the lawsuit are Arizona Sen. John McCain and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

The friend-of-the-court brief states that President Barack Obama "does not have the power to modify or ignore laws that have been duly enacted by Congress."

It claims Obama has engaged in a continuing effort to rewrite the Affordable Care Act, pointing to such changes as the revision of the individual mandate and suspension of the law regulating insurance plans, according to the Times.

Other senators who lent support to the litigation include Oklahoma's Tom Coburn, Georgia's Saxby Chambliss, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Among the House members backing the suit are Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Rep. Matt Salmon of Arizona, according to the Times.

Johnson said the lawsuit is necessary because Majority Leader Harry Reid has not permitted a vote to overturn the subsidies by legislative means.

Some GOP lawmakers criticized Johnson's resort to the courts. Wisconsin Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, a longtime Obamacare opponent, called the lawsuit "an unfortunate political stunt."

He said that were Johnson to prevail, "Congress will lose some of its best staff and will be staffed primarily by recent college graduates who are still on their parents' insurance. This will make it even more difficult to fight the president and his older, more experienced staff."

He said Johnson "should spend his time legislating rather than litigating." The lawsuit is a "frivolous" "distraction" from efforts to repeal Obamacare, Sensenbrenner said.

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