Pruitt Testifies Before Congressional Panel

Attorney General Scott Pruitt testified before Congress Wednesday, detailing Oklahoma’s lawsuit against the IRS and its implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The testimony before the House subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements was part of a panel of experts called before Congress for a first-ever hearing on the actions by the IRS and other federal agencies that do not comply with the health care law.

“The IRS does not have the authority to expand access to subsidies (nor levy penalties) beyond what is clearly written in the law. These issues are of great importance to the State of Oklahoma because we value our state’s economic stability and growth, and the rule of law,” Pruitt testified.

“Our fight continues on behalf of Oklahoma citizens to confront the administration when it seeks to overreach its authority and circumvent the law. We hope to obtain relief in this matter through the courts, but we also welcome Congressional oversight being brought to bear on these agencies.”

Pruitt was joined on the panel by  Jonathan Adler, professor of law, Case Western Reserve University; Dr. Charles Willey, chief executive, Innovare Health Advocates Inc.; Simon Lazarus, senior counsel, Constitutional Accountability Center; and Emily S. McMahon, deputy assistant secretary for tax policy, U.S. Department of the Treasury.

“At issue today is an example of the administration rewriting the law to meet their political objectives,” said U.S. Rep. James Lankford, R-OK, chairman of the subcommittee. “As Congressional Research Service legal analysis made clear, the language is straight forward. The IRS’ authority to issue premium tax credits is limited only to situations in which the taxpayer is enrolled in a state established exchange.”
In September, Oklahoma filed an amended lawsuit in federal court in the Eastern District of Oklahoma, challenging the IRS rule and its lack of authority under the ACA. The lawsuit argues that the IRS rule punishes “large employers,” including local government, with millions of dollars in penalties in states with federal health care exchanges, which is not allowed under the ACA.

To watch the hearing, go online to

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