Republicans threaten to subpoena IRS records on health law's subsidies

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"Our staffs have attempted to work with Treasury in a cooperative manner regarding our request and they have tried repeatedly to accommodate Treasury's concerns about producing the documents, but Treasury refuses to cooperate with the Committees," wrote Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (D-Calif.).

They reiterated their threat to use a "compulsory process" — meaning subpoenas — if the Treasury Department doesn't hand over relevant documents by Feb. 5.

The IRS has testified before Congress that it was not pressured by the White House to apply subsidies in both state and federal exchanges. The agency says that's simply how it read the statute.

The text of the law refers to subsidies flowing through exchanges "established by a state," which Republicans say forecloses subsidies in the federally run fallback exchanges.

But during the legislative debate, lawmakers and the Congressional Budget Office assumed subsidies would be available in both types of exchanges. CBO has said no one asked it to produce an estimate, assuming that subsidies wouldn't be available in federally run exchanges.