Family Research Council

July 23, 2014 - Wednesday

ObamaCare Courts Confusion Again

In its short existence, it seems like ObamaCare has spent more time in the courtroom than it has in the doctor's office. Yesterday, two federal appeals courts handed down conflicting rulings as it relates to ObamaCare subsidies for those who purchase healthcare through federally-created exchanges in their state.

The D.C. Appeals Court ruled in Halbig v. Burwell that subsidies to assist individuals in purchasing healthcare, if they qualify based on their income, are only intended to be dispersed to individuals who purchase a plan on an exchange that was created by their state -- not a federally created exchange in their state. On the other hand, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals also ruled yesterday afternoon, in King v. Burwell, that the income subsidies were intended and are able to be given to both individuals who purchase a plan on either a state created exchange or a federally created exchange in their state.

Given the dueling decisions this will most likely wind up before the Supreme Court in their next term.

A lot is riding on this issue. If the ruling of the D.C. Appeals Court stands, we could be seeing the beginning of the end for ObamaCare. ObamaCare has been full of empty promises, broken websites, religious liberty violations and high dollar signs and if this ruling stands, the administration will not be able to mask these very serious inherent flaws with subsidies given to those individuals whom the law strictly prohibits.

A lot of people received sticker shock when they purchased their healthcare plans on the exchanges during the last open enrollment, but the subsidies were able to mask a large portion of the cost for many. If people aren't able to qualify for subsidies if their state has refused to create an exchange, or if their state exchange is dissolved, thousands could likely be forced to pay significantly more for their healthcare.

Between ObamaCare delays, court rulings, public outrage and broken promises, the American people are seeing first-hand the inherent flaws with this law.

At Hearing on Meriam, Freedom Sounds

This afternoon, I had the privilege of testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations regarding the case of Meriam Ibrahim. As I told the members of the committee, we were all gathered today because of the courage of this 27 year-old pregnant mother, who in the face of death and an uncertain future for her children refused to deny Jesus Christ. How can we not be convicted to act given her courage?

Unfortunately, the Obama administration has not shared that conviction and has failed to act despite laws enacted by Congress making religious freedom a priority for the United States. The International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 states "it shall be the policy of the United States...to condemn violations of religious freedom, and to promote, and to assist other governments in the promotion of, the fundamental rights to freedom of religion." Religious freedom is a fundamental, inherent, and international human right. It is a core American ideal, an ideal that we should defend both at home and abroad. And I warned that an indifference to religious persecution abroad can only lead to greater religious intolerance here at home.

I also made reference to a growing body of research that points to nations that protect religious freedom as nations that have freer markets and greater economic stability and prosperity. This religious intolerance as evidenced in the Sudan must be condemned in its own right. Yet such intolerance is also harmful because it stifles economic growth in countries where it occurs. In turn, the lack of economic growth fosters instability and a lack of security. I pray that Meriam's courage is contagious, as it is now our turn to act.

Watch the rest of my testimony at the hearing below, and sign our petition to the State Department urging them to take action in Meriam's case.

Click here to view

More Credit Where Credit is Due

Since the 1990s, many parents have been able to claim the Child Tax Credit (CTC) on their yearly individual income tax return. FRC led the fight for the original CTC in 1997, and pushed for the increase to $1,000 per qualifying child, which remains the current amount today. FRC has long been a supporter of the CTC and has even called for it to be increased.

However, due to the marriage penalty associated with the CTC, some families have been unable to claim this credit, but Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kans.) has introduced a bill that will address this very important issue. H.R. 4935, the "Child Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2014" would permanently eliminate the marriage penalty associated with this credit as well as indexes the credit to inflation.

Our tax code has some built in marriage penalties which monetarily penalize families when they file their taxes or even discourage people from marrying. A fair system of taxation does not penalize marriage and family, rather it promotes economic policies that help families thrive in our economy. To eliminate the marriage penalty, the bill increases the income level phase-out from $110,000 to $150,000 per year, since the income phase-out level for single-filers to claim the CTC is $75,000 per year.

This bill also indexes the credit for inflation, which means, that each year the value of the CTC will be adjusted to take into account inflation. There are various reasons why the purchasing power of a dollar decreases, and inflation is one of these. Rep. Jenkins bill ensures that parents are able to continue to claim the full value of the $1,000 CTC each year when they file their taxes.

There are a lot of economic issues facing our country today. Exploding national deficits, unemployment, declining GDP, and the increased costs of goods and services are contributing factors that make it difficult today to raise a family. In the absence of a major overhaul of our tax code, Rep. Jenkins bill is a modest proposal to fix the marriage penalty associated with the CTC and ensure that the CTC continues to help families many years into the future. Contact your Representative and urge them to support the Child Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2014.


Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

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