In response to U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli describing fines imposed under President Obama’s health care law as a “tax,” Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan pointed out that Obama’s own budget director does not agree.
“The budget director, he said on oath about a month ago in the budget committee it is not a tax so the president’s budget director [Jeffrey Zients] himself told us about a month ago in testimony that it is not a tax,” Ryan told The Daily Caller after attending a “Hands Off My Health Care Rally” outside of the Capitol Tuesday. (RELATED: Full coverage of the health care law’s trip to the Supreme Court)
When asked if he thinks the Supreme Court will rule that fines imposed on individuals who do not purchase health insurance are constitutional as a tax, Ryan responded, “I don’t know the answer to that.”
Ryan is currently the chairman of the House Budget Committee.
Below is a transcript of the exchange on Monday at the Supreme Court between Verrilli and Justices Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer on whether or not the fine is a tax:
VERRILLI: That if they don’t pay the tax, they violated a federal law.
KAGAN: But as long as they pay the penalty –
VERRILLI: If they pay the tax, then they are in compliance with the law.
BREYER: Why do you keep saying it’s a tax?
VERRILLI: If they pay the tax penalty, they’re in compliance with the law.
BREYER: Thank you.
VERRILLI: Thank you, Justice Breyer.
BREYER: The penalty.
VERRILLI: Right. That’s right.