A Republican Congressman said he is looking for a way to file criminal charges against President Obama for delaying a portion of the Affordable Care Act, suggesting that the administration is “beyond” incompetent and may have engaged in Watergate-level transgressions.
Earlier this month, the administration announced that it will delay enactment of the employer responsibility provision until 2015 to allow businesses more time to comply with the law and promised to “convene employers, insurers, and experts to propose a smarter system.”
Republicans have blasted the move, but during a local radio interview on “94.3 The Talker,” Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) went a step further, telling the David Madeira Show that “If the chief law enforcer of the country … will not enforce the law, and the president decides to break the law because he doesn’t like it, there has to be another mechanism by which we in Congress can kick into gear, pursue this, see if there are criminal charges we can file.”
He added that he plans to “approach leadership and say we need to appoint a special committee like there was in Watergate that has authority to subpoena people, that has authority to investigate; and, I’m looking for a part of a statute that says we have the authority to indict.”
In a letter to Republican congressmen, the Treasury Department defended the delay, arguing that the reporting requirements in the ACA apply “at such time as the Secretary my prescribe” and that it is exercising the Department’s “longstanding administrative authority to grant transition relief when implementing new legislation.” It noted that it used the authority to delay laws in 2007 and 2011.
“[E]ven if one disagrees with that analysis, there is in fact a long history, going back at least to Marbury v. Madison, of both Republican and Democratic administrations failing to comply promptly, or even refusing to comply at all, with laws passed by Congress,” Tim Jost, a professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law, said in testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee this week.