A federal judge ruled Thursday that the Obama administration has been improperly funding a key Obamacare subsidiary program, absent the legislative branch’s appropriations – and in so doing, she handed House Republicans a long-sought victory in the ongoing battle over President Obama’s signature health-care overhaul.
Specifically, U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer, an appointee of George W. Bush, said the subsidy program can in fact continue, pending an appeal. But she also made clear the House was correct in its legal challenge – that the program, while authorized by Congress, was never given funding.
Collyer said the administration does not have the power to spend money on “cost sharing reduction payments” to insurers without an appropriation from Congress.
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The 38-page opinion highlights the repeated complaint from Republicans that Obama and his administration have ignored constitutional limits on their authority.
Constitutionally, the executive branch simply doesn’t have the power to spend money that Congress hasn’t appropriated.
“Paying out Section 1402 reimbursements without an appropriation thus violates the Constitution. Congress authorized reduced cost sharing but did not appropriate monies for it, in the FY 2014 budget or since. Congress is the only source for such an appropriation, and no public money can be spent without one,” said Collyer.