A Pennsylvania Republican congressman said that he is hoping to file civil and criminal charges against the Obama administration for delaying the implementation of one provision of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. According to the Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader, Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) said in a radio interview Thursday that he is exploring the options because he feels the administration is "beyond incompetent" and that the delay is just one sign of that.
Marino said that Obama took "unilateral" action when he chose to delay until 2015 the implementation of a provision requiring small business owners to insure their employees. Marino and some other Congressional conservatives believe that the move was illegal and are exploring options to take punitive action against the president.
Interestingly, Marino voted to repeal Obamacare entirely as recently as last May. He did not explain his change of heart in the interview with "The Dave Madeira Show" on Scranton's 94.3 FM, "The Talker."
“The American people already know Obamacare will result in an estimated 7 million jobs lost," Marino said in May. "We already know it's causing family premiums to go up and we already know by 2025 the so-called 'affordable' care act will cost taxpayers trillions of dollars."
On Thursday, less than eight weeks later, Marino said of the president and Attorney General Eric Holder, "If the chief law enforcer of the country...will not enforce the law, and the president decides to break the law because he doesn’t like it, there has to be another mechanism by which we in Congress can kick into gear, pursue this, see if there are criminal charges we can file."
Marino said that he intends to gather a claque of conservative congressmen with legal expertise to "meet with me in a brainstorming discussion to go over what I think the law allows Congress to do.” The group would then purportedly “approach leadership and say we need to appoint a special committee like there was in Watergate that has authority to subpoena people, that has authority to investigate; and, I’m looking for a part of a statute that says we have the authority to indict.”
“We’re beyond the point of showing that he’s incompetent. He’s no leader. He really doesn’t care about where this country’s going unless it’s his plan, so we have to step up,” he continued.
Sarah Wolf, Marino's spokesperson, told the Times-Leader that the congressman is hoping to “investigate, identify and prosecute people within the administration, up to an including the president if it comes to that.”
[Hat-tip to Think Progress]
[image via Marino.house.gov]