WASHINGTON (UPI) — Republican lawmakers scored a major victory Thursday when a federal judge ruled in their favor regarding a key part of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
D.C. Judge Rosemary M. Collyer sided with the GOP-led House in deciding that the Obama administration overstepped its authority when it ordered billions of dollars spent to help insurance companies get costs to an affordable level when the ACA became law.
Collyer, a Republican-appointed judge, said she found that Congress never explicitly approved the money to be spent.
“Such an appropriation cannot be inferred,” she wrote in her ruling, which blocked further spending under the program. However, Collyer said that order would be suspended pending an appeal by the Obama administration.
“Congress authorized reduced cost-sharing but did not appropriate monies for it,” Collyer continued. “Congress is the only source for such an appropriation, and no public money can be spent without one.”
The billions of dollars the federal government spends on the program provides assistance for insurance companies that, in turn, allow lower income citizens to afford purchasing coverage. Without it, some insurers have said they would lose money participating in Obama’s signature health law.
Thursday’s decision, which marked a rare occasion that a court gets involved in disputes between Congress and the White House, likely came as no surprise to observers of the process. In September, Collyer ruled that the House can sue the federal government over its ACA spending.
“This suit represents the first time in our nation’s history that Congress has been allowed to sue the executive branch over the interpretation of a statute,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in response Thursday. “These are the kinds of political disputes that characterize our democracy.”
“They’ve been losing this fight for six years and they’ll lose it again,” he added.
Former house speaker John Boehner applauded Collyer’s decision.
“Today’s Obamacare decision is a victory for the American people, and for House Republicans, who have stood firm for the rule of law,” he tweeted.
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