Tea Party congressman: ‘I’m not going to defend’ Romneycare, calls mandate a tax

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Tea Party Rep. Mike Mulvaney (R-SC) rejected the Romney campaign’s definition of the individual mandate as a penalty, not a tax. On Tuesday’s PoliticsNation, he told host Al Sharpton that “for folks who like the decision you have to be willing to admit that it’s a tax. You just do.”

Mulvaney, who is supporting a repeal of the Affordable Health Care Act and a proposed alternative from Georgia Rep. Tom Price (R), told the Rev. Al Sharpton that he supports Mitt Romney for president, but he does not agree with Romney’s claim that the individual mandate is a penalty.

“I think you probably have to choose one or the other,” Mulvaney said.

The Supreme Court found the individual mandate in the ACA constitutional as part of Congress’s power to tax. However, the White House has typically defined the mandate as a penalty, not a tax, since it only penalizes people who don’t buy insurance. On Monday, Romney advisor Eric Fehrnstrom came out and said that the mandate was, in fact, a penalty.

Mulvaney disagreed: “For folks who like the decision you have to be willing to admit that it’s a tax. You just do. It’s the only way that it was constitutional. I happen to think that it’s a tax.”

He continued: “I dont really have a comment on Massachusetts health care, because I’m not going to defend it. I live in South Carolina, I don’t get a chance to vote on it. I do get a chance to vote on the federal health care program and I will be voting to repeal it again.” The Massachusetts health care system, which also includes an individual mandate, was signed into law by Mitt Romney when he was governor.

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Al Sharpton and Mitt Romney

Tea Party congressman: 'I'm not going to defend' Romneycare, calls mandate a tax

Updated