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   Romney breaks with GOP, says mandate is a penalty, not a tax

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News Date

7/2/2012 5:00 pm

Author

Jonathan Easley

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Category

General

Database Record

Entered 7/2/2012, Updated 7/2/2012

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Mitt Romney's presidential campaign broke with congressional Republicans on Monday by arguing that the individual mandate upheld by the Supreme Court last week is a penalty, not a tax. The majority in the court's decision ruled it constitutional because it was a tax, and Republicans in Congress since that decision have hit the White House hard for raising taxes through the new law. But a spokesman for Romney on Monday said the former Massachusetts governor agrees with Obama that the individual mandate is a penalty or a fine, rather than a tax. In a roundabout exchange on MSNBC’s "Daily Rundown" on Monday, Eric Fehrnstrom was asked if he agrees with Obama that the individual mandate is not a tax. “That’s correct,” Fehrnstrom said. “But the president also needs to be held accountable for his contradictory statements. He has described it variously as a penalty and as a tax. He needs to reconcile those two very different statements."


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