By Jeanne Sahadi@CNNMoneyAugust 15, 2013: 11:47 AM ET
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)
Having failed in their many attempts to repeal Obamacare, some conservative Republicans are now trying to defund it.
The effort would starve federal agencies of the money they need to implement and enforce the Affordable Care Act. But it wouldn't necessarily render null and void the roughly $1 trillion in new taxes that the ACA is estimated to raise over the next decade.
Here's why: If conservatives succeed in defunding the ACA -- which is unlikely -- that doesn't change the law. So the tax provisions remain on the books.
Obamacare created the greatest number of tax law changes that the IRS has had to implement in two decades. The ACA tax provisions include:
A spokesman in the office of Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a leader in the defunding campaign, said that if the ACA were defunded, in effect no one could be held liable for not paying ACA taxes because there would be no money for the IRS to enforce them.
Lastly, no one can predict how the executive branch, which is constitutionally required to implement and enforce the law, would interpret its role in the absence of ACA funding.
"The question is what discretion do the IRS and Treasury have to enforce the laws in the face of restrictions on the use of funds," said Gamage, who held a two-year position at the Treasury Office of Tax Policy, writing regulations and implementation policy for ACA provisions.