- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 4, 2015

Sen. Ted Cruz blasted the Obama administration Thursday for refusing to let Treasury officials testify on how they interpreted the subsidy portion of Obamacare, a topic at the heart of a major Supreme Court decision due this month.

“I want to take just a few minutes to discuss the empty table before us,” the Texas Republican said at the start of a hearing before the Judiciary Committee’s panel on government oversight. “It’s a symbol of how little regard the Obama administration seems to have for the American people.”

Mr. Cruz wanted to publicly grill tax officials weeks before the justices decide whether the IRS is unlawfully paying Obamacare’s subsidies to consumers in at least 34 states that use the federal HealthCare.gov website, a decision that hinges on poorly drafted language in the 2010 law.

The Treasury refused to supply three tax-policy officials — Mark Mazur, Emily McMahon and Cameron Arterton — for the hearing, citing the pending litigation, according to Mr. Cruz.

“This refusal is unacceptable and interferes with Congress’ and this committee’s obligation to ensure proper functioning of federal agencies and the federal rulemaking process,” Mr. Cruz said last week in a letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew.

On Thursday, he accused the administration of absolving itself from oversight. He threatened to use “compulsory process” to force the witnesses to testify.

While Democrats accused Mr. Cruz of engaging in “political theater,” the Texan said the administration rewrote the law to extend assistance to customers in states that decided not to set up their own insurance exchanges.

That move, he said, would “make Harry Houdini shake his head in wonderment.”

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