House votes to stop IRS from implementing Obamacare

AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM

In its final vote before leaving Washington for five weeks, the Republican-led House of Representatives on Friday voted to strip the IRS of its authority to implement and enforce the Affordable Care Act.

The House voted 232 to 185 for the Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act of 2013, which seizes not only on conservatives' fierce opposition to Obamacare, but also to their relatively new concerns about the IRS in the wake of its targeting of tea party groups. The bill would stop the IRS from implementing the portions of Obamacare that it's responsible for, such as helping to enforce the individual mandate and giving consumers subsidies with which to purchase insurance.

"After all we've learned about the IRS and its conduct, the last thing we want is the IRS into protected health care information of taxpayers," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said to reporters Wednesday.

The vote represents the 40th time the House has tried to roll back Obamacare -- a cause destined to go nowhere, particularly given the fact that Democrats control the Senate and the White House.

In a statement after the vote, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the House would continue to take a series of "targeted" votes aimed at ending the law, "because patients and doctors should be in charge of health care decisions, not Washington and certainly not the IRS."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Friday slammed the GOP leadership for letting the Houserecess for its August break before putting in place a plan for the pressing fiscal issues facing Congress. For one thing, Congress must by Sept. 30 pass a bill to fund the government or risk letting the government shut down. However, the House will only be in session for nine days in September.

"If the work they want to get done is nothing, then they're right on schedule," Pelosi said.

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