Rep. Berman Hopes Bill Would Stop Health Care Reform Enforcement
By MICHELE REESE
A law proposed by an East Texas lawmaker would jail federal employees who enforce the new health care law.
CBS 19 sat down with state Rep. Leo Berman to talk about his proposed bill, and why he calls the law an assault on the U.S. Constitution.
"Thomas Jefferson believed in nullification. I believe in nullification and I just wanted to try it," Berman said.
It's dubbed the nullification bill, filed by Berman.
"The nullification bill says we believe the Obamacare bill is unconstitutional and therefore in Texas null and void," Berman said.
The bill says any attempt to implement the new health care law in Texas would be a criminal act.
"We prohibit any federal employee under a felony offense, it doesn't mean jail time necessarily, but they could be charged with a felony offense if they try and implement any part of the Obamacare bill in Texas," Berman said.
Ten other states' lawmakers have proposed similar legislation and 13 states have joined Texas in filing a lawsuit against the federal health care law on the basis that the law is unconstitutional.
"Judges seem to like the idea that this bill is not constitutional. You can't force anyone in the U.S. to buy anything," Berman said.
But Berman's bill is being met with mixed opinions from East Texans.
"I think anybody who's going to fight for the rights of our people is fair," Trisha Moser said.
Charlotte Mann said, "It is more than extreme. It's ridiculous,"
But Berman said, "I don't think it's extreme at all. I think it's more extreme for Texans who have to pay $27 billion to put over 2 million illegal aliens on Medicaid. That's what's extreme," Berman said.
Getting this bill passed in Austin could be a tough sell. "I think it could pass because we have a big majority of Republicans in the house. The hold-up would be in the Senate," Berman said.
But, he still feels compelled to try. "I'm worried for Texas," he said.
While Berman is proposing this bill, he says he still believes the federal law won't be implemented. He's hoping Republicans in Washington will decide to vote to not fund the law.