GOP: IRS scandal is one more strike against health care law
May 18th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
5 years ago

GOP: IRS scandal is one more strike against health care law

(CNN) – Republicans capped the week with another attack against President Obama's health care reform, criticizing the law and its relationship with the Internal Revenue Service.

"It's the IRS that will be responsible for enforcing many of these regulations. If we've learned anything this week, it's that the IRS needs less power, not more," Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland, an anesthesiologist of nearly 30 years' experience, said Saturday in the Republican weekly address.

The Republican-controlled House passed for the third time a repeal of Obamacare this week, a measure that has little chance of going anywhere in the Senate. The vote marked the 37th time Republicans have attempted to eliminate the 2010 law.

Adding fuel to their fire this week was the controversy in which the IRS admitted to targeting conservative groups applying for tax exempt status during the past three years. Two top officials stepped down over the ordeal, a scandal that drew scorn from President Obama and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

While the outgoing IRS commissioner, Steven Miller, said the over-scrutinizing of the groups amounted to "foolish mistakes," he maintained in a congressional hearing Friday that they were not conducted out of political bias.

Republicans, however, used the controversy to further criticize health care reform, as the IRS is tasked with implementing many of the law's provisions. Lawmakers also highlighted the fact that the current director of the Affordable Care Act office in the IRS used to head up the agency's tax exempt/government entities office, the same department taking heat over the recent dust-up with conservative groups.

"You can't make this stuff up," Harris said in the address.

With several of the health care reforms taking effect next year, Republicans are drumming up more opposition to the law. Harris argued the law's mandate to purchase health insurance would "turn lives upside down" and fears of rising costs are discouraging small business owners from hiring new workers.

"Obamacare is knocking Americans off the ladder of opportunity, and the sooner we repeal it, the sooner we can start fixing health care for working families," said the congressman, who was elected in 2010.

Americans remain divided over Obamacare. Forty-six percent disapprove of the law, while 41% approve of the 2010 health care reform act, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released last month.

Forty-one percent said the law will not affect them, while 37% say it will hurt rather than help, the poll showed.

- CNN's Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.

Filed under: Health care • IRS
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Jules

    Where's Benghazi? Oh that's right, the GOP got caught feeding ABC the lies they published. How is it this group of people should be investigating anything but themselves. Where's the jobs bill?

    May 18, 2013 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  2. Powder

    Here's a question: What political party was more threatened by the Tea Party. If you answered the democrats, you are completely wrong. The republicans were, and still are the party most threatened by the rival Tea Party. They've the most to lose, and nothing to gain from any Tea Party win, in any political race. Most of the IRS investigation/snooping, into Tea Party participants business affairs were done while a Bush appointed IRS person, was at the head of the IRS calling the shots. They knew what they were doing.

    May 18, 2013 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  3. Phyllis Gwendoline Williams

    These 2 items are totally disconnected. They have no relation to one another. The Health Care Program is the President's ; the IRS workers are responsible for the other.

    May 18, 2013 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  4. Jinx9to88

    Republicans had a chance to fix the healthcare under Bush when he was in office for 8 horrible years. GOP had no problem with healthcare skyrocketing since they had benefits for life. GOP say they will now fix healthcare just like the ran on jobs, jobs and jobs in 2010 one big fat lie. These are pathetic scrubs.

    May 18, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  5. Jinx9to88

    Also looks like more and more people are liking Obamacare, it was 60% disapprove when it first came out. GOP ran around scaring people, but now it is benefiting more people so I guess they like it now go figure.

    May 18, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  6. Jinx9to88

    37 times to try to appeal a law of the land. People this is your beloved GOP representative hard at work. They have other things they can be getting done. Vote them out!!!

    May 18, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  7. Mo

    How about we have some health care legislation that IS READ BEFORE IT IS PASSED?

    May 18, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  8. Evergreen

    What is the GOP plan for improving access to healthcare...other than "let them die"?

    May 18, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |

    Impeach, this failed administration has managed to lower the unemployment rate in my state AGAIN!! and my 401k is soaring, working overtime, how much more failures like this can i endure?. thank you mr. president for working for the working

    May 18, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |

    Well, the other option is to work for their money

    May 18, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  11. rs

    You mean the health care law they were intending on "repelling and replacing"? The one they have held 38 totally symbolic, and wasteful votes to overturn? The one sanctified by the U.S. Supreme Court?

    Face it- The GOP is desperate and will say ANYTHING. The Benghazi incident ought to have taught us that the GOP is the party of liars, and that they cannot be trusted to do the right thing, or even speak the truth.

    May 18, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  12. just sayin

    i can hardly wait until the leftist activists in the irs start using all of the obamacare laws to start attacking american citizens they don't agree with while giving their political allies a free ride with government subsidies, or maybe just a complete waiver like all of obama's union supporters are asking for and getting.

    every single person involved in the targeting of conservative groups needs to be fired and possibly prosecuted. and this includes the clown that just got put in control of the obamacare section of the irs because was the head of the irs section that was responsible for this targeting of conservative groups. she has gotten large bonuses and now this promotion when she should be fired. this is how the leftists cover for each other when they get caught red handed.

    May 18, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  13. rs

    Here's some advice GOP: we know you hate government generally, you hate paying your way, and you hate anything that helps the poor and elderly.

    Trying to blame your lack of support on the ACA (despite the fact it contains a great many Republican ideals and ideas) on the IRS is just so predictable, and so hollow.

    Shake it up! Blame the failure of the ACA on: witch doctors, space aliens, Communists, a secret cartel in the Antarctic. C'mon, you can be better than this! Be crazy, it's so cool.

    May 18, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  14. The REAL Truth...

    These GOP buffoons have nothing better to do with our tax dollars than conduct manufactured witch hunts. Anyone with 3 functioning brain cells know that this is about right wing organizations hiding their donor list, not about tax exempt status. They could easily get tax exempt status under 527's, but then they'd have to report donors. With names like tea and patriot of course they were scrutinized for being political.

    May 18, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  15. roro

    WHY ISN'T THE GOP LEGISLATING? That is their job. Stop all this obfuscation and wasteful spending of our money on your stupid attempts to repeal the ACA. It is the law of the land and has been sanctioned by the Supreme Court. While you're investigating you're not legislating. Where are the jobs you campaigned on and then forgot about after the election? I know the Heritage people have INSTRUCTED YOU to keep on these scandals and avoid immigration, jobs, the economy and the deficit, but they didn't elect you. We, the people, did. Now stop all this crap and get back to the job you're supposed to do.

    May 18, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  16. daniel

    Why can't we all just get along, down here in the lower bracket it seems that whites, blacks, and browns are all getting along ok and learning to live together as friends and neighbors.

    I believe it is just the higher up that can't let go of their prejudice issues. If you stop rating our cost of realty no matter who or of what color lives there, just help us learn with your help to maintain our properties, instead of setting different prices for the supplies we need based on what side of town we live on.

    Down here it seems that your well established big businesses should help us little people by not beating us down with your high prices of our necessities such as natural gas, electric bills, water bills, cable and telephone bills.

    It is the abundance of all these bills that keep us down so that we cannot afford to buy material for these great inventions such as solar, turbine, heat from the earth, satellite signal that you scramble what ever happened to our so called equal opportunity.

    Our world has such a large population that just a dollar from an individual of age 18 up to 88 can make you rich many times over. So why can't we all just learn to live together.

    May 18, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  17. Yanni

    The GOP must underestimate the American people. Otherwise, why they are wasting our time with grandstanding and posturing like they care? In fact their only motive is to dismantle government and make it easy to exploit poor people vulnerability for profit.

    May 18, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  18. labman57

    Once again, intellectually-challenged Republicans feebly attempt to establish phantom causal relationships via a political "6 degrees of separation" rationalization - this time by associating the implementation of the ACA with the inherent problems in the methodology used by the IRS to establish valid tax-exempt status for politically-active organizations.

    And once again, they will end up with egg on their collective faces as people recognize that there is no THERE there.

    May 18, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  19. Joan

    Actually the truth is starting to surface now. The GOP hopes to discredit the IRS so they can incorrectly tie it to the implementation of healthcare and try to scare people again that the big, bad government will prevent them from getting their proper healthcare coverage. Will they not stop at anything? The whole IRS issue may backfire on them too. It seems the IRS didn't "target" Tea Party groups so much as they and the MSM like to portray. Instead they were trying to get through the tens of thousands of new Tea Party political organizations that were formed under the Citizens United decision and were trying to get exemption. Political parties groups are NOT SUPPOSED TO GET EXEMPTIONS. Also, thanks to cutbacks from the Congress, there were not as many workers to get through the backlog. The Republicans and media have tried their hardest to make all of these latest issues huge "scandals" but it seems to be crumbling beneath their feet.

    May 18, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  20. Just a thought

    Only one word to sum up the GOP/Tea Potty pants folks....RIDICULOUS

    May 18, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  21. Just a thought

    One has work really hard to be as moronic as the GOP/Tea Pottie pants folks...most of us would prefer good common sense

    May 18, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  22. Just a thought

    Being associated with the GOP/Tea Pot folks is idiocy. Since these folks came to the public spot light, this country has needed a tremendous amount of Preparation H for the pain, suffering and discomfort hearing from these malcontents

    May 18, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  23. Marie MD

    If they even try to impeach the president for no reason except that they don't like the black man then they need to try and convict the shrub, the shooter of friends that was his vp, rumsfeld who still thinks the Iraq war was justified even I'd the WMDs was all a lie.
    Life in prison doesn't even come close to all the deaths they caused for,knowingly lying to everyone

    May 18, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  24. Just a thought

    We should all be grateful that as these old cranky, grouchy, bigotted, selfish GOP/ Tea folks will eventually fade into the annals of this country's most embarassing citizenry (if one calls these folks anything other than America's version of the Taliban

    May 18, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  25. Just a thought

    Please america WAKE UP....The GOP/Tea freaks need to be expelled from the national spotlight....Vote this folks out of office to avoid 1) other countries thinking we have a large number of the ignorant and clinically insane and 2) Keeping the rest of us for being nauseous

    May 18, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
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