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Trent Franks Still Under the Impression Obamacare Is Unconstitutional

Trent Franks Still Under the Impression Obamacare Is Unconstitutional
Photo by Matthew Hendley

Just this week on the House floor, Republican Congressman Trent Franks was insisting that Obamacare is unconstitutional.

It seems like it's a little late to still be fighting the law under the claim that it's unconstitutional, but Franks is never one to give up on his beliefs, pet projects, and lost causes.

Franks has actually been arguing for some time now that the law is unconstitutional under the Origination Clause in the Constitution.

"Even if the taxing power enables Congress to impose a tax on not obtaining health insurance, any tax must still comply with the other requirements in the Constitution," Franks said this week. "In short, ObamaCare was upheld as a tax. The Supreme Court did not and has not yet considered a challenge to the Affordable Care Act's taxing provisions on the grounds that it violated the Origination Clause in the United States Constitution, and it most certainly did exactly that. The Origination Clause is found in article I, section VII of the Constitution, and it states: 'All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.'"

Here, note that the Obamacare bill was passed as H.R. 3590, the "H.R." meaning -- you guessed it -- the bill originated in the House of Representatives.

Franks kind of ignored that part, and offered his interpretation of why he doesn't think that counts:

In creating ObamaCare, Senator Harry Reid took an entirely unrelated bill, H.R. 3590, containing just 714 words that did not raise taxes, and then stripped it of everything but its bill number. He then put the 400,000-word ObamaCare that raised taxes in 17 different places into its empty shell. Through this bit of legislative trickery, Mr. Reid claims that ObamaCare originated in the House, when, in fact, every last provision of ObamaCare, including the largest tax increase in American history, all came from the Senate.

This sort of procedure absolutely ignores and vacates the Founders' intent, and it renders the Origination Clause of our Constitution completely meaningless. If it is allowed to stand, the Origination Clause in the Constitution is a dead letter.

Other challenges on these grounds haven't been successful.

Franks has been on this Obamacare-unconstitutionality kick since April, when he introduced a symbolic resolution with the purpose of "expressing the sense" that Obamacare is unconstitutional.

(If you've ever wondered why Congress doesn't get anything done, look no further.)

Fifty-one representatives (of 431) have joined Franks on his symbolic measure, and there's a lawsuit against the health care law seeking to invalidate it for this very reason.

Franks didn't mention that lawsuit got tossed in June. An appeal was filed last week by thePacific Legal Foundation in Sacramento.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.


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