Senator Johnson Files Answer in Johnson v. OPM

Washington, D.C. – Senator Ron Johnson filed his answer Monday to the government’s motion to dismiss his lawsuit over the Obama administration’s special Obamacare treatment of Congress and its staff. He made these remarks:

“The Office of Personnel Management’s rule restoring tax preferred congressional health care subsidies that the Affordable Care Act eliminated reflects a stunning disregard for the law.  On Jan. 6, 2014, I filed suit to overturn this executive overreach and uphold the rule of law.   This is just one example of the more than 20 unilateral changes made by the president to his own signature piece of legislation, but it was the one opportunity where I believe I had standing to challenge.   

“The administration does not want this case to have its day in court, and as a result, asked the court on March 17 to dismiss my case due to lack of standing. 

“Today, more than ever, we have seen an alarming intrusion of the federal government into our lives.  Far too often the president has been able to govern by presidential decree, and there has been very little that members of Congress could do about it.   As Professor Jonathan Turley of the George Washington Law School has testified, “The current [constitutional] crisis is the result not simply of executive overreach but also of judicial avoidance in the face of that growing encroachment. The courts are now absent—without constitutional leave—in the midst of one of the most fundamental conflicts in the history of our country. That will make corrective measures all the more important (and all the more difficult) for Congress.”

“The United States Constitution provides for a government of laws, not men.  Far from being above the law, the president is required to obey and enforce it.  Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution provides that the president “shall take care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”  This duty is mandatory, not optional.  The President must faithfully execute the law that Congress enacts - and in this case, that he, himself, signed.

“Congress was clear: The misnamed Affordable Care Act required Congress and its staff to get its health coverage through the exchanges and to do it without a tax-preferred employer subsidy, like anyone else who will lose employer-sponsored coverage. The administration’s rule violates this law. It is unfair to the American people and it is an offense against the rule of law.”

Also filed Monday was an amicus brief signed by 12 U.S. senators and 26 U.S. representatives in support of Sen. Johnson's lawsuit against OPM.