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Eric Holder refers Congress to Treasury for legal basis of Obamacare delays

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Joel Gehrke,Treasury,Eric Holder,Mike Lee,Attorney General,Justice Department

Attorney General Eric Holder told a House panel that lawmakers interested in knowing the legal basis for President Obama's delay of the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate should look to the Treasury Department for answers.

"The Treasury Department had looked at it and determined that there was a legal basis [for the mandate delay]," Holder told Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, during a House Judiciary Committee hearing.

"I think I would refer you to that document," he also said when asked for Justice Department analysis. Holder said that the Justice Department generally does not disclose the legal analyses provided to the president.

Chabot's line of questioning about the legal basis for the employer mandate delay was based on Holder's conversation with Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in January.

"I'll be honest with you, I have not seen — I don't remember looking at or having seen the analysis in some time, so I'm not sure where along the spectrum that would come," Holder told Lee when asked to provide the justification. "I would think that given that we're talking about a statute passed by Congress that delegates or devolves to the executive branch certain authorities, I would think that you're probably in category one there as well," he also said, referring to the strongest constitutional grounds for a presidential action.

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