Following the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the individual health insurance mandate in President Barack Obama’s health care law as a tax, California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters praised the court’s ruling but told The Daily Caller that she personally has “not decided” whether or not to call the mandate a tax.
TheDC asked Waters if she agrees with Chief Justice John Roberts that the provision requiring all Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a fine is a federal tax.
“What I have not decided is whether or not it’s better to call it a tax or a mandate. What I have decided is it’s absolutely necessary that it be paid for, that if we’re going to cover all of these preexisting conditions that I just alluded to, we have to have the income by which to do it and so I have not decided that one may be better than the other,” she told TheDC. “I’m going to think about that and I’m going to review and perhaps I’ll have a different opinion on it later on, but right now I’m just happy.”
When pressed on the issue, Waters would not say if the Democratic-controlled Congress intended to create a new tax when it passed the health care law in 2010.
“I don’t want us to start projecting out and start to talk about what’s going to happen in the future,” Waters responded. “The first thing we must know and understand is that this independent, very, high positioned branch of government will make their decision based on the deliberations that they’re involved in, based on their experiences, based on their beliefs and we cannot anticipate what they’re decisions are going to be.”
Obama and White House Budget Director Jeffrey Zients have said the individual mandate is not a tax. In his oral argument before the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. said that same.
When questioned by TheDC on Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would not say if they view the mandate as a tax. However, they both said the Supreme Court made the right decision to uphold the law.
“Call it what you will, it’s a step forward for America’s families and you know what? Take yes for an answer,” Pelosi said Thursday.
“I’m not about here to give you all a dissertation on constitutional law. The law has been withheld [upheld], and I’m very happy it has been,” Reid said.