House Republicans may include individual mandate delay in stop-gap spending measure

The wheels are moving in the House of Representatives as they prepare for the Senate to send back the stop-gap spending measure to keep the government open. But House Republicans have indicated that they may include a one-year delay of the ObamaCare’s individual mandate, which would volley the Continuing Resolution (CR) back to the upper chamber with time on the clock running out:

The House Republican leadership is seriously considering attaching a one-year delay of Obamacare’s individual mandate to the Senate bill to avert a government shutdown, according to senior GOP aides.

If House Republicans decide to go this route, it would all but provoke a government shutdown, since Senate Democrats might not even schedule a vote on a bill that includes that provision, Senate leadership staffers say. Even if the Senate schedules a vote, there might not be time to move the legislation through the slow-moving chamber.
Several different tactics are under discussion within the top levels of House GOP leadership, and the path Republicans choose depends on several factors — chiefly the mood of rank-and-file Republicans when they return to Washington, and when the House gets the continuing resolution back from the Senate.

The individual mandate, which survived a legal challenge at the Supreme Court under questionable logic, is a controversial, unpopular provision of ObamaCare that requires Americans to purchase health insurance coverage or face a punitive tax. It’s considered to be the heart of the law at the Obama Administration hopes that young and healthy Americans will sign up for coverage to offset insurance costs on the sick and elderly.

With Republicans in the chamber striking a populist tone as the Obama Administration gave businesses a pass on the employer mandate, the House, in July, passed a one-year delay of the individual mandate. The White House, however, pledge to veto the measure, and it wasn’t brought up for consideration in the Senate.

The CBO has determined that a one-year delay of the individual mandate would save taxpayers $36 billion. Polls show strong opposition from voters against the individual mandate, which suggests that focusing on unpopular provisions of the ObamaCare may be a better way to target it.

Now, this step may not happen, as a CR with any changes to ObamaCare would almost assuredly be vetoed by the White House, resulting in a government shutdown. Robert Costa of the National Review reported yesterday that another angle that’s being discussed would involve the passage of a short-term CR to give House Republicans more time to negotiate with the White House.

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