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House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) today announced that the Committee on Ways and Means will hold a hearing to explore the implications of the Supreme Court’s ruling that the individual mandate is constitutional, particularly as it relates to Congress’s authority to lay and collect new taxes. The hearing will take place on Tuesday, July 10, 2012, in 1100 Longworth House Office Building, beginning at 10:30 A.M.
In view of the limited time available to hear from witnesses, oral testimony at this hearing will be from invited witnesses only. However, any individual or organization not scheduled for an oral appearance may submit a written statement for consideration by the Committee and for inclusion in the printed record of the hearing. A list of witnesses will follow.
President Obama and Congressional Democrats have long argued that the cornerstone of the “Affordable Care Act” (ACA) (P.L. 111-148 and 111-152) is the requirement that Americans purchase government-approved health insurance or pay a new tax (the “individual mandate”), and that the new law would not work without such a mandate. Many raised concerns that such a requirement was unconstitutional because it violated the Commerce Clause.
On June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court ruled (5-4) that the individual mandate was constitutional. The Court rejected the Obama Administration’s argument that such power is granted under the Commerce Clause. But the Court accepted a tertiary argument put forth by the Obama Administration that the individual mandate was a tax increase authorized under the Congress’s taxing power (U.S. Const. art. I, § 8, cl. 1). Under the Constitution’s Origination Clause (art. I, § 7, cl. 1), all revenue measures must originate in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the rules of the House grant jurisdiction over “[r]evenue measures generally” to the Committee on Ways and Means (Rule X, cl. 1(t)(3)).
In announcing the hearing, Chairman Camp stated, “I strongly disagree with the Court’s decision and its holding that Congress can tax Americans who choose not to purchase government-approved health insurance. This ruling sets a dangerous precedent with potentially enormous consequences. As the tax-writing committee of the U.S. House of Representatives – where, under the Constitution, all revenue measures must originate – we have a responsibility to fully understand the Court’s interpretation of Congress’s taxing authority and what that means for potential actions taken by future Congresses, the future of our country and the relationship that the government has with the American people.”
FOCUS OF THE HEARING:
The hearing will focus on the implications of the Supreme Court’s ruling that the individual mandate is constitutional on the grounds that it is a tax and that Congress has the broad power to levy taxes far beyond the historic scope of raising revenue.
DETAILS FOR SUBMISSION OF WRITTEN COMMENTS:
Please Note: Any person(s) and/or organization(s) wishing to submit for the hearing record must follow the appropriate link on the hearing page of the Committee website and complete the informational forms. From the Committee homepage, http://waysandmeans.house.gov, select “Hearings.” Select the hearing for which you would like to submit, and click on the link entitled, “Click here to provide a submission for the record.” Once you have followed the online instructions, submit all requested information. ATTACH your submission as a Word document, in compliance with the formatting requirements listed below, by the close of business on Thursday, July 24, 2012. Finally, please note that due to the change in House mail policy, the U.S. Capitol Police will refuse sealed-package deliveries to all House Office Buildings. For questions, or if you encounter technical problems, please call (202) 225-1721 or (202) 225-3625.
The Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record. As always, submissions will be included in the record according to the discretion of the Committee. The Committee will not alter the content of your submission, but we reserve the right to format it according to our guidelines. Any submission provided to the Committee by a witness, any supplementary materials submitted for the printed record, and any written comments in response to a request for written comments must conform to the guidelines listed below. Any submission or supplementary item not in compliance with these guidelines will not be printed but will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.
1. All submissions and supplementary materials must be provided in Word format and MUST NOT exceed a total of 10 pages, including attachments. Witnesses and submitters are advised that the Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record.
2. Copies of whole documents submitted as exhibit material will not be accepted for printing. Instead, exhibit material should be referenced and quoted or paraphrased. All exhibit material not meeting these specifications will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.
3. All submissions must include a list of all clients, persons and/or organizations on whose behalf the witness appears. A supplemental sheet must accompany each submission listing the name, company, address, telephone, and fax numbers of each witness.
The Committee seeks to make its facilities accessible to persons with disabilities. If you are in need of special accommodations, please call 202-225-1721 or 202-226-3411 TTD/TTY in advance of the event (four business days notice is requested). Questions with regard to special accommodation needs in general (including availability of Committee materials in alternative formats) may be directed to the Committee as noted above.
Note: All Committee advisories and news releases are available on the World Wide Web at http://www.waysandmeans.house.gov/.