Rubio Proposes Constitutional Amendment To Overturn Obamacare Mandate

AP
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Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Tuesday introduced a constitutional amendment aimed at invalidating the individual mandate to buy health insurance under Obamacare.

The text of the “Right To Refuse” amendment, according to Rubio’s office: “Congress shall make no law that imposes a tax on a failure to purchase goods or services.”

“ObamaCare is a disastrous policy that is not only destructive to job creation, it will also unleash the corrupt and scandal-ridden IRS on taxpayers simply for not buying health insurance,” Rubio said in a statement.He invoked the Internal Revenue Scandal two more times in his press release, timed as Congress was set to hold another hearing into its improper targeting of conservative groups.

“We should put our faith in the American people to decide what goods and services they want to buy, not have Congress dictate it and have the IRS empowered to harass Americans to make sure they do it,” he said. “Let’s do everything we can to keep the IRS out of our health care and stop future congresses from forcing private citizens to spend their hard-earned money on products or services Washington is forcing on them.”

Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS) has introduced companion legislation in the House.

Amending the Constitution requires a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate, or a constitutional convention called by two-thirds of state legislatures. An amendment must be ratified by three-quarters of the states in order to become part of the Constitution.

By a vote of 5-4 last summer, the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate as valid under Congress’s power to levy taxes. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, joined the four liberal-leaning justices. The Democratic-led Senate has repeatedly rejected efforts to repeal Obamacare and there isn’t a two-thirds majority in either chamber to hack away at key elements of the law such as the individual mandate.

Rubio’s constitutional amendment is all but certain to fail. But it’s just the latest front in an all-out, relentless war waged by Republicans against Obamacare.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.
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