The House leadership will continue to press the Obama administration on the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative groups, GOP Rep. Tom Price of Georgia says.
Speaking to host J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV two days after the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee ordered former IRS official Lois Lerner to reappear at a hearing next week, Price said, "Darrell Issa and Dave Camp and [those of] us on Ways and Means are working through trying to get the information. The administration hasn't even provided the information that we have subpoenaed, that we've asked for from the IRS to see where this trail leads. I don't presume that the president was involved with this, but I do know that it wasn't a rogue element in an Ohio IRS office that made these decisions."
Lerner's lawyer said Wednesday that she will testify only in exchange for an immunity agreement. When she appeared before the committee last May, Lerner asserted her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
"We know it goes straight to Lois Lerner, which is why I presume that she took the Fifth Amendment. But we're going to continue to, whether it's through a select committee or a special committee, whether it's through the committees of jurisdiction right now that the American people finally get the explanation for why the IRS was used in such a political manner. And it was and it's egregious and it's chilling and it absolutely must stop," Price said.
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Price has represented Georgia's 6th congressional district, based in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, since 2005. He previously served as chairman of the Republican Study Committee and the Republican Policy Committee, and he is currently vice chairman of the House Budget Committee.
The five-term congressman is also a medical doctor and staunchly opposes the IRS's role in the enforcement of Obamacare.
"Look, the American people, as you well know, understand and appreciate that the Internal Revenue Service ought not have anything to do with our healthcare, and the fact is that they are expanding their role as we speak. Sarah Hall Ingram is a gal who is employed by the IRS and was in charge of the entity within the IRS that actually targeted conservative groups for further scrutiny under the 501(c)(4) issue. She's been transferred over the last year to be the enforcer for Obamacare within the IRS. So it's all intermingled. It's all the same thing. It's a huge overreach by the administration and we're not going to let up," Price said.
"And, remember, it's important for folks out there to appreciate that the only reason that we know about the 501(c)(4), the non-profit targeting by this administration through the IRS, is because of Republican oversight. If that hadn't happened, we, as a nation, would never know about it. Now, it takes too long, but we're going to continue to work at it."
Turning to the rollout of the healthcare law, Price warned it will not improve with time.
"Oh, no, the worst is yet to come and this will continue to roll out and it really is sad because, at this point, real people are getting harmed and not just in the healthcare arena, but from an economic standpoint as well," he said.
"As a physician, my former colleagues are just suffering under this and, now, not being able to provide the kind of care, in many instances, for the patients that they're charged with caring for and many, many patients across this land are now seeing that the networks of the physicians that they're able to see, the hospitals where they're able to be treated aren't eligible if they're on one of these exchanges, either a state or the federal exchange."
Asked how he addresses his constituents' frustration over Obamacare, Price replied, "Well, they understand. The American people understand that they've been lied to by the president. They can't keep the kind of coverage that they like in spite of the president's promise and the American people also understand that Harry Reid and the Democrats in the Senate won't allow the kind of positive reforms that need to be put into place to even come to the floor of the Senate."
But that won't stop Price and his fellow Republican lawmakers from trying, he vowed. "Now, we've got to keep harping on that and we've got to keep making certain that we're providing that positive contrast, which is why I, and many of my colleagues in the House, have put forward common sense solutions to the healthcare challenges that we face. In fact, we've got over 160 pieces of Republican legislation that address healthcare, some of them soup to nuts variety, some of them very targeted, but there are positive solutions that don't require putting Washington in charge," Price said.
"We believe in patient-centered healthcare which means patients and families and doctors making medical decisions, not Washington, D.C."
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