White House Budget Director on Individual Mandate: That's Not a Tax


By Hadley Heath

Today in a hearing on Capitol Hill, Congressman Scott Garrett took acting White House Budget Director Jeff Zients to task on the taxes in ObamaCare.

Adamant that there were no tax increases in the health care law for families making less than $250,000, Zients had to admit that the individual mandate was not a tax.  This is one of the issues before the Supreme Court, who will decide if the legal challenges to the mandate are barred by the Tax Anti-Injunction Act.  

Here's an excerpt from the transcript from today's hearing via The Weekly Standard:

Rep. Garrett:  “So if I am part of a family that does not buy health insurance in violation of the President's health care program and I got to pay because of that, that is not a tax incre – that is not a tax on me?”

Zeints:  “The Affordable Care Act saves money.”

Rep. Garrett:  “I understand that, but is that a tax on me then if I do not pay that, or is that not a tax?”

Zeints:  “I'm not sure I'm following the question.”

Rep. Garrett:  “You said there’s no tax increases on people who make under $250,000. If I make under $250,000 and I do not buy health insurance as I’m required to under the Affordable Healthcare Act , is that a tax on me or is that not a tax on me?”

Zeints: “Well this is –“

Rep. Garrett: “A moment ago you said there’s no tax increase.”

Zeints: “There aren’t.”                                                                                     

Rep. Garrett: “So that’s not a tax?”

Zeints:  “No.”

Rep. Garrett:  “That's not a tax. Okay. I just want to be clear on that because that's not the argument the administration is making. Let's move on -- before the Supreme Court.”

And the video, priceless:


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