House Republicans voted in support of legislation linking taxes, the IRS and the unpopular Obamacare, just before leaving Washington for their August recess on Friday.
The House voted 232-185 for a bill that would bar the IRS from any role in carrying out the health-care law or in collecting taxes to help pay for it.
The lead sponsor of the "Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act" is Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., a practicing physician for more than 20 years before his election to Congress in 2004.
The House vote marked the 40th time it has moved to repeal parts or all of the health-care law. President Obama has signed seven of those bills but none eroded the law’s basic building blocks. The White House earlier this week said he would veto the bill.
The Obama health law grants the IRS more than 40 different enforcement powers. Price says the admitted conduct of the IRS in evaluating conservative organizations for tax-exempt status disqualifies the agency from this new role.
"The genesis for [the bill] was earlier this Spring when the revelations came out about the incredible, chilling tactics of the Internal Revenue Service targeting political groups and targeting individuals for their ideology and then leaking donors to those groups and then targeting donors for audits," Price told WND.
"The IRS is the implementation and enforcement arm of the Affordable Care Act and that just ought not be. The American people, by over 80 percent, believe that ought not be the case," said Price, who says putting more sensitive data in the hands of the IRS is exactly the wrong move.
"The medical information, the IRS will tell you, is not what they're after. Even though it's not the focus of what they would be doing, they described what they did in the tax-exempt arena as 'not necessary.'"
The bill does not specify which arm of the government would be responsible for implementing and enforcing the law. Price says that would be the administration's decision but he hopes it would be people who actually know something about health care.
But just shifting the bureaucracy is not Price's ultimate goal. He says the whole law needs to go.
"The Obamacare law is an affront to the American people. What we need to get to is patient-centered health care, which is a bill that we've proposed, that allows patients and families and doctors to make medical decisions."
The legislation Price introduced and he believes is a superior way to address health care reform is HR 2300, "The Empowering Patients First Act."
The congressman also weighed in on the escalating GOP debate over whether tying the defunding of Obamacare to a continuing resolution to fund the government is the best way to derail the law. Without specifically touting the merits of that plan, Price says any strategy that weakens or eliminates Obamacare is fine with him.
"I'm a plan A, B, C, D, E guy. You've got to keep fighting on every single front. You're never quite certain which one is going to be successful, so whatever opportunity we have, we need to keep pushing," said Price. "Whether it's the continuing resolution, whether it's funding of the government, whether it's any other piece of legislation that's coming through, we need to absolutely make sure that Obamacare doesn't result in Washington's ability to dictate to the American people what kind of health care is available to them and, therefore, what kind of health care is not available to them."
Critics of the defunding plan on both sides of the aisle suggest trying to defund Obamacare as part of funding the government will pit the effort to end Obamacare against government functions like paying the troops and issuing Social Security checks. Price says that's not true.
"The House has already passed legislation that would make it so that the president was able to continue with Social Security checks and paying the troops and the like. That's a false argument on their side," said Price, who says that legislation is still awaiting action in the Democrat-controlled Senate.