Despite a veto threat from the White House, the House of Representatives yesterday approved legislation to delay ObamaCare’s employer mandate and individual mandate.
The Treasury Department announced earlier this month that it would delay employer mandate penalties and reporting requirements until 2015. House Republicans have seized on this because it is an admission by the administration that the ObamaCare’s mandates are unworkable for businesses.
They also, however, note that any delay would have to be approved by Congress because the statutory effective date for the mandate is January 1, 2014. Basically, it’s illegal for the Obama Administration to unilaterally delay the mandate. But instead of acknowleding that congressional action is necessary, House Democrats spent the entire debate criticizing Republicans.
The Authority for Mandate Delay Act, sponsored by Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR), passed by a vote of 264 to 161. Thirty-five Democrats voted in favor of the measure while only one Republican voted against it.
Moments later, the House approved the Fairness for American Families Act, sponsored by Rep. Todd Young (R-IN). This legislation would, for one year, delay the individual mandate, which is one of the most controversial parts of ObamaCare.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is in complete denial about the Obama Administration’s decision to delay the ObamaCare employer mandate.
Faced with opposition and concerns from businesses about the impact of ObamaCare, the Treasury Department announced in a blog post earlier this month that they would delay the employer mandate until January 2015. This particular part of ObamaCare requires employers with more than 50 employees to offer health insurance coverage or pay a punitive tax.
During a press conference on Thursday, Pelosi was asked about the “virtue” in a delay in the individual mandate, as House Republicans are proposing, to correspond with the Obama Administration’s delay in the employer mandate. Doing her best impression of Baghdad Bob, Pelosi told reporters that the employer mandate hadn’t been delayed at all.
“No. Absolutely not. I don’t think it’s virtuous at all [in delaying the individual mandate]. In fact, the point is, is that the mandate was not delayed,” claimed a clearly delusional Pelosi. “Certain reporting by businesses that could be perceived as onerous, that reporting requirement was delayed, and partially to review how it would work and how it could be better. It was not a delay of the mandate for the businesses and there shouldn’t be a delay of the mandate for individuals.”
Republicans in Congress are continuing to play offense on ObamaCare, announcing a number of legislative proposals to interupt various parts of the unpopular law. For example, the House will vote this week to delay the individual mandate while Senate Republicans have asked President Obama to “permanently delay” all implementation.
But Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has offered another alternative. He has introduced legislation that would fully defund ObamaCare, making further implementation state exchanges and IRS enforcement of the individual and employers mandates completely impossible.
“Consistent with my long-standing position that no continuing resolution or other appropriations measure should fund Obamacare, I am introducing a bill to permanently defund the law,” said Cruz in a statement from his office. “The Administration’s recent announcement to delay the onerous and unpopular employer mandate until after the 2014 election, coupled with its announcement to delay income and health status eligibility requirements in favor of an honor system for the most expensive entitlement for our generation, confirms what has been obvious from the start—this law is a colossal mistake.”
“Delaying only one aspect of this tangled mess leaves Americans holding the tab for an irreparably broken law they do not support,” continued Cruz. “Moreover, it leaves in motion many of the most egregious parts of the law, ensuring they will take root in just a few short months. This is untenable.”
Nearly two weeks ago, the Obama Administration announced a one-year delay of the employer mandate, a part of ObamaCare that requires businesses with over 50 employees to offer health insurance coverage or face a fine.
What’s good for business, as the Obama Administration apparently believes, seems to have Americans wondering why it’s not good enough for them. According to a new poll from Rasmussen Reports, 56% of Americans oppose the individual mandate,a central part of ObamaCare that requires every American to purchase health insurance. The same number supports a one-year delay of the policy.
“Only 35% of Likely U.S. Voters favor the individual mandate anyway, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey,” noted the polling firm. Fifty-six percent (56%) oppose the law’s requirement that every American obtain health insurance or else be forced to pay fines.”
“Only 35% of Likely U.S. Voters favor the individual mandate anyway, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Fifty-six percent (56%) oppose the law’s requirement that every American obtain health insurance or else be forced to pay fines.”
A similar poll conducted by HealthPocket showed that a plurality believes that the delay of the employer mandate should extended to the individual mandate.
The House of Representatives will vote in the next two weeks on H.R. 2009 — the Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act — legislation sponsored by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) that will prohibit the agency, which is under fire for wrongly targeting conservative groups, from enforcing ObamaCare.
In response to the IRS scandal, House Republicans are promising a series of votes on legislation to send a message to the embattled agency and to keep the Obama Administration playing defense as ObamaCare continues to collapse on itself.
“As we’ve seen in recent announcements from the White House, the Obama Administration is clearly unable to manage the implementation of its own health care law. We’ve also learned that the IRS is clearly unable to prudently and impartially enforce current law,” said Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) in a press release from his office. “The Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act is essential in preventing further targeting, abuse and harassment, as well as in ensuring Americans have access to quality health care.”
“It is thanks to the American people who have voiced their support for our plan and the more than 100 members of Congress who have cosponsored H.R. 2009 that we have this opportunity to take action,” he added. “I urge more of our fellow citizens to get involved, so together, we can continue to keep the pressure on Washington to keep health care decisions in the hands of patients, families and doctors, instead of the government.”
With the Obama Administration playing defense on ObamaCare due to its unpopularity and implementation problems, including the delay of the employer mandate and significant relaxation of eligibility verification for taxpayer-funded subsidies; House Republicans are preparing to up the ante.
During his weekly press conference yesterday, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told reporters that the House of Representatives will vote next week on legislation to delay the individual mandate for one-year.
“ObamaCare is raising costs, it’s making it harder for small businesses to hire, and frankly, with last week’s announcement, it’s wide open to fraud and abuse. In short, it’s a train wreck. And even the administration knows that this law is unworkable,” said Boehner. “The President has delayed ObamaCare’s employer mandate, but hasn’t delayed the mandate on individuals or families. I think it’s unfair and indefensible.”
He noted that businesses will get a pass on ObamaCare for a year, but that young Americans struggling to pay off student loans, a reference to another ongoing legislative battle, or hardworking parents fighting to make ends meet will not get the same treatment.
“Listen, is it fair for the President to give American businesses an exemption from the health law’s mandates, without giving the same break to individuals and families across the country?” Boehner asked. “Hell no it isn’t.”
“Next week the House will vote to delay both the employer mandate and the individual mandate,” he added. “I believe it’s unfair to protect big businesses from ObamaCare, but not individuals and families.”
Rep. John Barrow (D-GA) says that the administration’s delay of ObamaCare’s employer mandate is not enough and that Congress needs to fully repeal of the onerous provision.
In speech yesterday from the House floor, Barrow urged leadership bring H.R. 903 — the American Job Protection Act, legislation sponsored by Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) — up for a vote before the chamber.
“Just over a week ago, the Administration announced a one-year delay of the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act. While a temporary delay is a good thing for businesses, a full repeal would be even better,” said Barrow. “Businesses in my district in Georgia have made very clear that the employer mandate would prevent them from expanding their businesses or hiring workers. One of the main reasons I voted against this law in the first place was because too many job creators in my district simply can’t afford the costs of the employer mandate under the Affordable Care Act.”
“We can fix this, however. I’m proud to be leading the effort to fully repeal the employer mandate, along with two of my colleagues from across the aisle. We know that this can be fixed, and we’ve got the bipartisan legislation to do it,” he added. “I urge my colleagues to swiftly bring up the full repeal of the employer mandate and make this delay permanent, so businesses across the country can get back to creating the jobs we need.”
The mandate would cost employers $150 billion over the next 11 years, according to information provided on Barrow’s House website, and lead to a loss of more than 3 million jobs.
In what was pre-holiday news dump, the White House announced on Tuesday that it would delay implementation of the employer mandate, which penalizes businesses with 50 or more employees if they don’t offer health insurance coverage, until the beginning of 2015.
“Over the past several months, the Administration has been engaging in a dialogue with businesses - many of which already provide health coverage for their workers - about the new employer and insurer reporting requirements under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We have heard concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively,” wrote Mark Mazur, the Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. “We recognize that the vast majority of businesses that will need to do this reporting already provide health insurance to their workers, and we want to make sure it is easy for others to do so. We have listened to your feedback. And we are taking action.”
“Accordingly, we are extending this transition relief to the employer shared responsibility payments. These payments will not apply for 2014,” he added. “Any employer shared responsibility payments will not apply until 2015.”
Nearly two months after the startling revelations that the IRS had exclusively targeted Tea Party and conservative groups for inappropriate scrutiny, the agency is asking Congress for a 9% increase in its budget so that they can hire additional agents to enforce ObamaCare’s mandates:
Still mired in scandal for its mishandling of nonprofit political groups, the Internal Revenue Service is prepping for a new role: chief enforcement arm of the Affordable Care Act.
That task will require new agents — 6,700, the IRS figures — and more money — about $1 billion more than the current budget.
Confronted with the tax agency’s 9-percent increase in its 2014 budget, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., blasted Deputy IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel at a meeting of the House Committee on Ways and Means Thursday morning.
After reading off a long list of instances of waste, fraud, excess and abuse at the agency over the past several years, Ryan demanded to know how the IRS felt it had the “moral authority” to ask for more money. He actually sounded almost hurt by the request.
Werfel meekly responded that the additional funding was essential to the agency’s expanded enforcement mandate.
The agency’s latest funding boost follows an increase of nearly $1.5 billion and 1,200 agents already dedicated to the implementation of ACA.
The Obama Administration has been ramping up its effort to sell ObamaCare to a still skeptical American public.
Last week, Politico reported that a new organization run by former Obama campaign staffers would try to sell the law to the uninsured at events around the country. This on top of the administration working with the NBA and NFL to promote ObamaCare to sports fans.
While they may be able to sell some naive Americans unicorns and fairy dust of ObamaCare, others will likely see the very real negative impact the law is already causing.
According to a recent survey from Gallup, small business owners are already reporting that they’ve had to suspend hiring or eliminate jobs because of the uncertainty that ObamaCare is bringing to their bottomline (emphasis mine):
Small business owners’ fear of the effect of the new health-care reform law on their bottom line is prompting many to hold off on hiring and even to shed jobs in some cases, a recent poll found.
Forty-one percent of the businesses surveyed have frozen hiring because of the health-care law known as Obamacare. And almost one-fifth—19 percent— answered “yes” when asked if they had “reduced the number of employees you have in your business as a specific result of the Affordable Care Act.”
The poll was taken by 603 owners whose businesses have under $20 million in annual sales.