Alaska Governor Up For Re-election Joins Lawsuit Suing Federal Government Over Health Care

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"Alaska Governor Up For Re-election Joins Lawsuit Suing Federal Government Over Health Care"

Yesterday, Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell (R) announced that Alaska will join 20 other states suing the federal government over the constitutionality of health care reform. “For the first time we now have a federal government dictating our economic activity,” Parnell said. “Alaska will use the courts to fight this federal encroachment on our citizens.”

Last night on Fox News, Parnell likened the health insurance mandate to requiring people to buy gym memberships or GM cars. He also admitted that only Republican members of the Alaska congressional delegation are backing what he and the attorney general are doing with this suit:

PARNELL: The question really is, should we allow the federal government to require citizens to engage in commerce? You know, your previous people on the show were speaking to that because Congress could now conceivably require all Americans to buy federally approved gym memberships in order to lower obesity and blood pressure rate. Or the attorney general’s memorandum, you know, speculated, you know, they could now order us to buy GM cars under the threat of a tax surcharge so the federal government can better manage its stake in GM.

VAN SUSTEREN: And I take it — is this all along party lines at this point in Alaska?

PARNELL: It is. It is. But I’ve got to tell you, as I was looking at this, I began to realize that we got to stop making this about the health care debate and start making it about our liberty.

Watch it:

It’s important to point out that Parnell was Sarah Palin’s lieutenant governor and took over the top spot when she quit in July 2009. He is now running for a full term. As ThinkProgress reported earlier this month, a large majority of the governors and attorneys general in the right-wing lawsuit being led by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum are either running for higher office or up for re-election. As Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently said, “the legal standing of the law is solid and that this has more to do with politics than policy.”

Transcript:

VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, so you want into this lawsuit?

PARNELL: I do. We — you know, I’m one of these — I’m one of these governors that thinks and then acts. And I asked my attorney general quite a few weeks ago to do the legal analysis on this for ourselves so we would know that we were acting in good faith, that we were doing our homework and avoiding the politics of the moment.

And yesterday, I got a briefing from the attorney general. He gave me a 50-page memo on — just a — just a very detailed analysis. I thought it was so important, what I saw and heard, that today I released that attorney general’s memorandum and announced that Alaska was joining the other states in Florida’s legal action against the federal government.

VAN SUSTEREN: Now, have you actually spoken to the attorney general in Florida, or have you designated your attorney general to do so? Have you spoken to the governor of Florida? How do you actually get in?

PARNELL: Our attorney general has spoken with the attorney general in Florida. They had a telephone call. I understand that the attorney general from Florida was very happy to hear that we’ll be state number 20 in that particular action. So that’s where we are.

VAN SUSTEREN: What is it that you think is unconstitutional in this statute, or this new health care bill?

PARNELL: Well, our Department of Law did just a complete analysis, and specifically, we are challenging the federal government’s sweeping expansion of Congress’s power under the commerce clause. We don’t think the commerce clause authorizes the health care legislation’s individual mandate there.

I mean, for me, when I started to read this memo — and if you go to the state of Alaska’s website, click on my face, you know, Governor Sean Parnell, go to “Priorities,” you’ll see something that says “Fighting national health care.”

The question really is, should we allow the federal government to require citizens to engage in commerce? You know, your previous people on the show were speaking to that because Congress could now conceivably require all Americans to buy federally approved gym memberships in order to lower obesity and blood pressure rate. Or the attorney general’s memorandum, you know, speculated, you know, they could now order us to buy GM cars under the threat of a tax surcharge so the federal government can better manage its stake in GM. It’s just…

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you heard…

PARNELL: Go ahead.

VAN SUSTEREN: Have you heard from any of your delegation, any of your members of Congress or U.S. Senators since making this announcement?

PARNELL: We have. We — we have one representative, of course, two U.S. senators. I’ve got two of the three who are very supportive, and the other one is not.

VAN SUSTEREN: And I take it — is this all along party lines at this point in Alaska?

PARNELL: It is. It is. But I’ve got to tell you, as I was looking at this, I began to realize that we got to stop making this about the health care debate and start making it about our liberty.

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