CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The New Hampshire House voted Wednesday to send back to the federal government any money the state receives to implement the federal health care reform law.

Lawmakers also directed the attorney general to join states suing to block the federal law.

Meanwhile, the Senate voted Wednesday to ask the state Supreme Court if lawmakers have the constitutional power to order the attorney general to join the states suing to block the Affordable Care Act.

Senate Democratic Leader Sylvia Larsen said the bill obviously was unconstitutional and there was no need to ask the court for its opinion.

The House voted 261-104 to replace a Senate bill on the issue with its own. The Senate recommended that Attorney General Michael Delaney join the suit. The House ordered him to sue and added a provision that the federal money be returned.

The state has accepted about $660,000 to plan for the law’s implementation.

State Rep. Andrew Manuse, R-Derry, argued the Legislature has the constitutional authority to take the action.

“It is quite clear the Legislature sets policy and the executive enforces it,” he said. “We certainly have the authority to set his priorities.”

But state Rep. Gary Richardson, D-Hopkinton, argued just the opposite — that the constitution warns one branch of government should not infringe on the power of the others.

“My friends, we have lost our way. Use your common sense. Deny this lust for power and defeat this bill,” he said.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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