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Opinion

Mike Lee laughs at Eric Holder's suggestion that Congress ask Treasury Department for legal arguments

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Joel Gehrke,Eric Holder,Employer Mandate,Mike Lee

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, can't believe Attorney General Eric Holder suggested that lawmakers ask the Treasury Department, rather than attorneys in his bailiwick, to provide the legal basis for President Obama's unilateral delays of the employer mandate.

"Wow," Lee laughed when told of Holder's comments. "He is the attorney general of the United States."

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

"I think I would refer you to that document," Holder said to Chabot, who based his line of questioning on an exchange between Lee and Holder at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in January. Holder said Justice wouldn't disclose the legal advice it gave to the president.

"That's not what he told me," Lee responded. "It doesn't obviate the need for someone in the administration to articulate their authoritative basis for effectively rewriting this statute. So, whether it's the attorney general who explains their basis in law for doing this or whether it's somebody at Treasury, somebody needs to give us an explanation, because on its face, the law doesn't appear to authorize this and the law appears quite inconsistent with what they've done."

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