Barletta: Why $750M in Obamacare Subsidies to Illegal Immigrants?
Click here or on image for video of Rep. Barletta Q&A with Sec. Burwell
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta, PA-11, today sharply questioned the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) over a new report that reveals that half a million people had received a total of $750 million in Obamacare subsidies, even though the recipients could not prove their lawful presence in the United States. Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell testified before Barletta’s House Committee on Education and the Workforce and said that people who improperly received the tax credits would be expected to return the money to the Internal Revenue Service. Barletta cited a recent Senate report found that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services within HHS distributed the subsidies.
“These tax credits are solely intended to be used to purchase health insurance by U.S. citizens and those lawfully residing here. Instead, they were improperly distributed, and the federal government will likely never see a cent returned,” Barletta said. “Now I have been working to fight illegal immigration for more than a decade, and I find it extremely troubling that at a time when our national debt is 19 trillion dollars and counting, the federal government continues to throw money away with no regard for the consequences.”
Barletta has long been a critic of Obamacare and illegal immigration, including the skyrocketing financial impact of both.
“I would have a hard time explaining to families from my district – many of whom are still struggling to put food on the table – as to why they should be helping to pay for the health expenses of someone who broke the law to get here and has no right to those federal dollars,” Barletta said.
Barletta then asked Secretary Burwell, “Whose decision was it to prioritize illegal immigrants over American citizens?”
Secretary Burwell indicated that the tax credits were granted despite the lack of documents proving legal presence, and that, under the law, the recipients have 90 days following that to produce such documents. Under questioning, Burwell said that the job of recovering the money from any illegal immigrants becomes the problem of the Internal Revenue Service and trusted that illegal immigrants will cooperate in helping return the money to American taxpayers.
“Why did we not go back to those people after we gave them the tax credits to get the money back, the tax credits that could have been used for someone else?” Barletta asked. “As the head of an agency that knows what it’s like to scratch for every penny, please explain to me how the administration is going to make up to my constituents and ensure that three-quarters of a billion dollars is returned to the American taxpayer.”
“With regard to that, that is the regular tax process,” Burwell replied. “So, for any of these individuals, what will happen is they will owe those in taxes, in terms of reconciling. And so, the IRS in its process …”
“We can count on that money coming back, 750 million …,” Barletta said.
“What will happen is, when they go in, this will be reconciled through the IRS process,” Burwell said.
Following the hearing, Barletta expressed incredulity that the Obama Administration’s stated policy is to hand out hundreds of millions of dollars to people who cannot prove they are legally present, and then hope to recover the money if it turns out they are not.
“This is the gang that spends Obamacare money first and asks questions later,” Barletta said. “Our national debt is spiraling out of control by the minute, and the administration keeps sending good money after bad.”