White House to Dems: Don't back down on tax debate
June 29th, 2012
05:39 PM ET
2 years ago

White House to Dems: Don't back down on tax debate

(CNN) – The White House is encouraging Democratic allies in Congress to engage in a debate on taxes after the Supreme Court's ruling on President Barack Obama's health care law brought the issue back into the national spotlight.

David Plouffe, a senior adviser to Obama, wrote in a memo delivered to House and Senate Democratic caucuses Friday that Democrats were eager to debate their GOP rivals on taxes. Plouffe pointed out the Obama administration's achievements on lowering rates for middle class Americans.

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The memo came a day after the Supreme Court upheld Obama's sweeping health care law. Chief Justice John Roberts said the penalty on Americans who opt against buying health insurance is actually a tax, therefore making the individual mandate constitutional. Congress, Roberts reasoned, has the authority to assess taxes.

That ruling, while in the president's favor, was quickly seized upon by Republicans, who used it as evidence that Obama had raised taxes on Americans.

"That's not what the president said when he introduced the bill, but what the court said was that it's OK because it's a tax," U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Georgia, told CNN Thursday. "The debate that we're happy to have is that our friends on the other side of the aisle [not only] want to tax what you do, they want to tax even what you don't do."

And Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said, "Millions of Americans may now have an IRS problem as a result of the ruling."

In his memo, Plouffe encouraged Democratic lawmakers to jump headlong into the tax debate.

"We welcome this debate on middle class taxes, and we urge you to seize this opportunity to go on offense to illustrate how the President and Democrats in Congress are standing up for the middle class," Plouffe wrote.

He went on to list Democrats' achievements on taxes and explain the provision in question in Obama's health law, managing to take a jab at presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

"For those that can afford health insurance but stay uninsured-forcing the rest of us to subsidize their care for free-a penalty is administered," Plouffe wrote. "This is estimated by the CBO to affect 1% of the population. It is modeled on the health reform Governor Romney signed into law, where less than 1% have been affected by the Massachusetts penalty."

While Thursday's ruling stipulated the central facet of Obama's law could stand if viewed as a tax, Obama himself denied the mandate was a tax during a 2009 interview with ABC, comparing it to state requirements that motorists carry auto insurance.

"Nobody considers that a tax increase. People say to themselves, 'that is a fair way to make sure that if you hit my car, that I'm not covering all the costs,'" Obama said.

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Also see:

Obama campaign to opponents: Move past health care fight

Fund-raising flurry after Supreme Court ruling

Romney reacts to health care ruling, renews repeal pledge

Obama: Supreme Court decision is a 'victory'


Filed under: Health care • Taxes • White House
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Beeman

    No one considers it a tax who is not going to have to pay into the system. A large portion the country doesn't pay taxes now so no its not a tax for them since they don't pay anything. The White House lies with such abandon they actually start believing their drivel like its not a tax. More directives from the King.

    June 29, 2012 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  2. ttim

    Thank you Mr. Pres. for doing the right thing for The People! My husband and I are self employed and our monthly policy payments to Blue Cross is $7,200 a year with a $12,000 deductable. They don't cover even 1 penny unless we spend $12,000 of ours. So, last year I had to have a simple surgery and it was $19,500 out of our pockets! It will take us years to pay that off while at the same time we still have to pay $600 a month for insurance plus the hospital bill. Health care in America has been SICK for decades! We have just been turned down 3 times for pre existing conditions trying to find a company that will cost us less. We are Stuck with Blue Cross and the gouging! God Bless the POTUS!

    June 29, 2012 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  3. Investment Advisor

    Mr President...Owning and driving a car is a choice made by each individual. Wheres the choice in your mandate/tax?

    June 29, 2012 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  4. Myviewis

    Perhaps they can clarify since there is so much contradiction if the Healthcare Tax is a Tax or a Penalty in the
    eyes of the IRS?
    1.Will the IRS collect the Tax due if an individual fails to buy healthcare coverage?
    2.Does the IRS base the Tax due from individuals with no healthcare coverage on the Whole household income?
    3.What measures, procedures will the IRS use to collect the Tax due from individuals without healthcare coverage?
    4.Will the IRS determine if individuals bought adequate healthcare coverage?
    5.Will the IRS determine if the employer provided affordable coverage to employees?
    6. Can the IRS place a lien on bank account, home, paycheck, car if an individual doesn’t pay the Tax due?
    7. Will the IRS arrest, imprison an individual for not paying the Tax due?

    June 29, 2012 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  5. Vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    sorry Plouffe but you might have to give some of these Democrats some SPINES to stand up to the GOP right wing anti-Obama machine...they seem to back down like some did in the Holder case when the heat is on them.

    June 29, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  6. Walt

    Not to worry. Alexithymic Mitt and the GOP can't win by doing their BACKWARDS CRAB WALK as America goes FORWARD with President Obama into 2012.

    June 29, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  7. Sanity

    Tax? What tax? I thought it was a fine. That's what Obama said.

    June 29, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  8. Indy

    I can't wait to hear the Reublicans Health Care Plan that does not cost any money and is not a tax increase.

    June 29, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  9. California Gary

    The GOP thought they had the Supreme Court bought and paid for........it sure is fun watching them throw a hissy fit. They absolutely want to run Justice Roberts out of town on a rail.......how dare he apply the law to an obvious political situation........who does he think he is..........a judge?

    June 29, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  10. Serf

    Punitive Taxation. The Whip of Choice by the Masters of Uncle Sam's Plantation; to force compliance and the purchase of Government sanctioned products and services.
    Individual Liberty? What's that? No individual choice here when there is no choice of freely not complying with what makes the Masters and the Nobles Rich like unto the Ruling Elite 1%.

    June 29, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  11. Serf

    The new Donut Hole; the lower Middle Class. Too poor to buy health insurance; too poor to pay the penalty.

    June 29, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  12. MesaMax

    So much for the "no taxes on the middle class" pledge by Obama. So if I am penalized $10 or I am taxed $10, aren't I still out $10 no matter what you call it?

    June 29, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  13. DumbasRocks [R]s

    The HealthCare ruling, Holder's non-contempt contempt vote, and the let's-cut-taxes-for-the-rich argument.......seems to me the [R]s are on a self-inflicted losing streak just in time for the 2012 elections. [R]s would be dangerous if they had brains.

    The level of the [R] vote for Romney in Nov. will be a clear measure of the percentage of the American voters whose stupidity is irredeemable.

    June 29, 2012 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  14. Phil the Love

    Most Americans would not mind paying higher taxes to get outta this mess. And have you noticed the lower gas prices? Thanks Obama.

    June 29, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  15. Obamacare = Obama cares about the young, elderly, poor and disabled. Romneycare = "I don't care about the poor"! Repeal? Replace? With What?

    What is this, conservative supporting freeloaders?

    Since the only folks making less than 250,000 that will pay a tax under ACA are the folks without health insurance, i.e. "freeloaders" that would then foist their ER visit off on the rest of of us responsible tax payers and health insurance owners!

    The cons may want to rethink this line of attack, or next they may actually care for all those "welfare queens" and their "litters"!

    IF that were to happen, then there was indeed a chilly wind in Hell today!

    June 29, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  16. hammer

    IRS deals with taxes.ITS A TAX and they will have the power to come after you,your kids and your grand kids.This is a burden on all the young people.They will realize it soon enough.

    June 29, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  17. gail

    I don't like that I will be forced to pay for medical if I don't want it. I know a lot of people that rarely get sick and if they do they don't run to the ER for a slight cold. I think if people are forced to do this, then they should be reimbursed something at the end of the year if they did not use the medical insurance.

    June 29, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  18. Sam

    Democrats are pretty spineless, otherwise we wouldn't even be debating the mandate, we'd have a Single Payer System!

    June 29, 2012 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  19. james

    His Imperial Highness has spoken–

    June 29, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  20. SafeJourney

    Get out and vote these teapublicans out of office before they completely destroy America

    June 29, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  21. Steve- Illinois

    You can call a pig a rabbit, but it's still a pig!

    June 29, 2012 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  22. 2020

    can citizen force congress to work for people? if they don't work, can we slap a penalty, tax them?

    because it is COMMON SENSE, FRIEND, FOR YOUR OWN GOOD.

    June 29, 2012 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  23. db

    It won't force me to buy insurance. I'm self employed and insurance for just me is 1500.00 a month(no pre-existing conditions). The fine is 1% of my income. 300.00 dollars a year. Which one would you choose?

    June 30, 2012 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  24. Tubby the Tuba Texas

    Give it up Repuglicans, it's all over and now the Obamacare is LAW! Now your trying to start trouble again over petty jealously! Justice Roberts is the one calling it the a TAX and that's why he went with it. But it is over. Dems won and the Repuglicans lost...END OF STORY. SOUR GRAPES....so Republican!!
    -

    June 30, 2012 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  25. Unbelievable

    The Republican leadership have lost their minds. A bunch of Mad Haters! Take a good long look America. They are grabbing at any and every thing like a rabid dog. Scary.

    June 30, 2012 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
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