WASHINGTON — The House voted Friday to prohibit the Internal Revenue Service from implementing Obamacare, citing concerns that the agency could not be trusted with the task after employees applied inappropriate scrutiny levels of to conservative groups.
“The IRS is already out of control, abusing its power to tax and audit the activities of honest, hardworking Americans… Yet, ObamaCare granted the IRS 47 new powers — including giving confidential taxpayer information to other departments and applying new taxes and penalties,” said Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp in a floor speech before the vote.
House Republicans have also expressed concern that implementation would give the IRS access to confidential health information, data they say the agency cannot be trusted with, The Hill reported.
The Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act of 2013 bill passed 232-185, a party line vote with four Democrats breaking ranks to vote in favor of the bill: Rep. John Barrow of Georgia, Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah, North Carolina Rep. Mike McIntyre, and Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson. It was the House’s last action before members sprinted to the airports for the August recess.
Democrats have criticized the bill, sponsored by Georgia Rep. Tom Price, as a waste of time, noting that it is the 40th time that the House has voted to repeal some or all of the healthcare law.
“We are now seven months into this House Republican session. It has been nothing more than a bridge to nowhere,” said Rep. Sander Levin, the ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means.
“This bill is nothing more than a continuation of Republicans’ blind obsession with repealing the Affordable Care Act,” he added.
Earlier Friday morning, the House passed a bill known as the REINS Act, which stands for Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act, which requires congress to approve any federal rule that has a price tag of $100 million or more.
Both votes are part of the House’s Stop Government Abuse week, during which a series of votes were taken to curb the powers of federal agencies like the IRS that House Republicans feel have been running wild.
The Senate is not expected to take up any of the measures.