A federal judge on Thursday ruled in favor of House Republicans in a lawsuit against the Obama administration challenging the legality of payments to insurers under ObamaCare. U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled the controversial payments to insurers, which were meant to reduce co-payments for lower-income people, were unconstitutional.
The ruling Thursday marks a defeat for the Obama administration and a win for House Republicans. However, Judge Collyer put the decision on hold pending appeal.
“Today’s ruling by the D.C. federal court is an important step toward restoring the separation of powers and stopping President Obama’s power grab. The Constitution is very clear: it is Congress’ job to write our laws and it is the President’s duty to enforce them,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said in a statement.
The case surrounds a $175 million program authorizing payments to insurers that Republicans argued stepped on the power of the purse granted solely to Congress. These spending provisions were never appropriated by Congress. The House argued that Congress never specifically appropriated those funds and, in fact, denied the administration when they requested it.
Yet, the administration is spending the money anyway. The White House had previously described the case as a “partisan attack” and predicted it would be dismissed. However, on the central question of whether the money could be distributed anyway under another program, Collyer’s opinion was clear.
“None of the Secretaries’ extra-textual arguments – whether based on economics, ‘unintended’ results, or legislative history – is persuasive,” she wrote. “The Court will enter judgment in favor of the House of Representatives and enjoin the use of unappropriated monies to fund reimbursements due to insurers” under that section.
Collyer said the law is “clear,” and money was not allocated for that program.
She then said she would stay the injunction, giving the administration a chance to appeal. Collyer, with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, is a George W. Bush appointee nominated in 2002.
The administration is expected to appeal Thursday’s ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.