Joint Congressional Investigative Report into the Source of Funding for the ACA’s Cost Sharing Reduction Program
Press release via https://energycommerce.house.
WASHINGTON, DC – The House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), and the House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), today released a new report, entitled, “Joint Congressional Investigative Report into the Source of Funding for the ACA’s Cost Sharing Reduction Program.”
The 150-plus page report, which will be discussed at hearings before the Ways and Means Committee today, and the Energy and Commerce Committee tomorrow, chronicles the committees’ alarming findings about the Obama administration’s decision-making processes on the source of funding for the CSR program. Key findings include:
- In 2012, the administration developed an allocation account structure to pay for the premium tax credits. At that time, Treasury counsel concluded that 31 U.S.C. §1324—the permanent Treasury appropriation for tax credits—could not be used to make CSR payments.
- Between April 10, 2013, and July 11, 2013, in an unusual move, the administration informally withdrew its request for an annual appropriation for the cost sharing reduction program by calling the Senate Committee on Appropriations.
- The Office of Management and Budget prepared a memorandum that provided the administration’s legal analysis and justification for funding the cost sharing reduction program through the premium tax credit account.
- Treasury Secretary Lew approved an Action Memorandum dated January 15, 2014, authorizing the IRS to administer the cost sharing reduction payments in the same manner as the advanced premium tax credit payments.
The committees also learned that OMB shared its memorandum with key decision makers across the administration, including then-Attorney General Eric Holder, who personally approved the analysis. This memorandum was a lynchpin of the administration’s justification for moving forward in its decision to illegally direct taxpayer dollars toward the CSR program. To date, the administration has spent more than $7 billion without the Constitutionally-required Congressional appropriation.
The Joint Congressional Investigative Report also details the unprecedented obstruction the committees faced in attempting to discover the facts surrounding the administration’s decision. Key findings include:
- The administration has not complied with subpoenas issued by the United States Congress.
- The Department of the Treasury did not provide deposition subpoenas issued by the Committee on Ways and Means to the relevant deponents in a timely manner.
- Witnesses were instructed not to reveal to Congress the names of White House and Department of Justice officials involved in decisions regarding the cost sharing reduction program.
- The administration sought to withhold information from Congress by claiming the deliberative process privilege. That privilege does not apply in this instance.
“For nearly a year and a half, we have sought the most basic facts about the source of funding for this program,” said Chairman Upton and Chairman Brady. “Along the way, we’ve been met by repeated roadblocks from the administration, and the refusal to share even basic information with our committees. Additionally, during the course of our investigation, we’ve had individuals testify who referenced specific documents about the program. To this day, we continue to be denied access to those very documents. Despite this administration’s unprecedented obstruction, the committees have uncovered concerning new information—released today for the first time—about the administration’s decision to unconstitutionally fund the CSR program without an appropriation from Congress. The American people need and deserve better. An abuse of power at the highest levels is underway, and it must stop.”
Click here to access a copy of the report.