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Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2019

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PALMER. Mr. Chairman, my amendment would prohibit funds from being used to carry out the District of Columbia's Health Insurance Requirement Amendment Act of 2018. This is essentially the District's version of ObamaCare's individual mandate with a few important and troubling distinctions.

The mandate requires that all residents of the District of Columbia purchase government-sanctioned health insurance or pay what the District calls a ``shared responsibility payment.''

However, the mandate goes even further by allowing D.C. authorities to place liens on, seize, and sell the property of their residents if they are unwilling or unable to pay the tax penalty.

Let me repeat. If a D.C. resident chooses not to purchase the government-sanctioned health insurance plan or purchases health insurance that doesn't meet the District of Columbia's preferences, they will now have the authority to impose a tax penalty or seize and sell that person's assets.

But it gets worse.

Every plan available through the D.C. Health Link covers elective abortion, which means that the mandate forces individuals who don't wish to purchase this coverage to choose between violating their conscience and facing a tax penalty or, even worse, having their property seized.

I am sure you will hear objections to Congress meddling in District of Columbia affairs, but I will remind those objectors that Article I, section 8, clause 17 of the Constitution vests Congress, not the D.C. City Council, with the authority to exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever regarding the District.

When the District of Columbia makes it a priority to force the residents to buy insurance coverage they neither want nor need, it is incumbent upon Congress to exercise their constitutional authority and prohibit the use of funds to carry out this policy.


Mr. PALMER. Mr. Chairman, how much time do I have remaining?


Mr. PALMER. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the distinguished gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Meadows).


Mr. PALMER. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the other distinguished gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Walker).

Mr. PALMER. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentlemen from North Carolina, Mr. Meadows and Mr. Walker, for their support of this amendment. And I would just like to point out, as Mr. Meadows was pointing out, this is really about defending rights.

This amendment prohibits the District of Columbia Council from imposing on individual property rights. It denies people the option to buy less expensive health insurance and insurance that they want and need.

I would like to also point out that in ObamaCare, even there, there was no force imposed on people to buy health insurance. They could pay the penalty, or they could apply for a waiver with the IRS and, literally, millions did that. At no time did ObamaCare pose a threat to people's property rights, as this amendment does.

So, Mr. Chairman, I urge my colleagues to stand up for the rights of the citizens of the District of Columbia to protect their property rights and support this amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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