House passes two bills to delay key Obamacare requirements
July 17th, 2013
07:48 PM ET
9 months ago

House passes two bills to delay key Obamacare requirements

Washington (CNN) - The House of Representatives passed two bills Wednesday postponing two key provisions of Obamacare, marking nearly 40 times that the Republican-controlled House has attempted to repeal or roll back parts of the president's signature first term accomplishment.

One measure, which passed 264-161, delayed for one year the requirement that employers provide health insurance, something the Obama administration already announced it was doing earlier this month. Thirty-five Democrats joined Republicans on the vote.

The other bill, approved 251-174, also postponed for one year the mandate that individuals sign up for health care coverage. That legislation was backed by 22 Democrats. One Republican, Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Virginia, opposed both bills.

Republicans argued it was unfair for the White House to give businesses a reprieve, but still require individuals to comply with the mandate or face a penalty.

“Why is it that working Americans have to suffer the financial burdens of an overreaching government-run health care system while the same consequences for big business are delayed a year?” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor asked on the House floor.

As it has on most other House Republican measures to change or repeal the health care law, the Obama administration threatened to veto both bills, but they are unlikely to go anywhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate

House Republicans know neither bill has any chance of actually becoming law. Wednesday’s votes were more about ramping up political pressure on congressional Democrats for the midterm elections. Obamacare continues to split the public, and GOP leaders believe a string of stories about delays and other potential problems enacting the law will create a public backlash.

The GOP campaign committees have made a top priority of putting Democrats in competitive districts - specifically those elected in 2012 - on the defensive on health care. And in fact the list of those who supported the GOP bills mirrored a list of Democrats whom Republicans believe they can defeat in 2014.

Illinois freshman Rep. Cheri Bustos is one of the House GOP's targets. She voted with Republicans on both bills to postpone the mandates and told CNN she has been hearing concerns from small businesses all over her district about dealing with Obamcare's requirements.

"If we're going to say that for small businesses then how do you separate out that it should be different for individuals, it's a consistency thing." Bustos said, echoing an argument that House Republicans made throughout the debate on the House floor.

The Illinois Democrat, who worked for a health care system before coming to Congress, said she supports Obamacare but was open to making changes to improve the law. She also emphasized the need to educate the public about the benefits.

"I think in the end if we fix some of the flaws and if we roll this out in a way that people can understand how it will help, then I think we'll be OK - over time, but I think it will be one of those over time kind of changes. This is a huge change."

But most Democrats argued Wednesday that the House vote delaying the employer mandate was a waste of time since the president already said he'd postpone that provision.

"Here we go again. Another repeal vote. Another political sideshow. And another blow to bipartisanship which is so vital to addressing a whole host of important issues including an issue important to our committee: tax reform,” Michigan Democratic Rep. Sander Levin said. “Instead of moving forward, once again my Republican colleagues are looking backwards."

House Speaker John Boehner argued that it was Congress' job to approve any change to Obamacare, citing the Constitution gives Congress the authority to draft the laws. "The idea that the president can merely go out there and make a decision about what he's going to enforce and what he isn't going to enforce is fundamentally wrong," he said.

Most Democrats did support the administration's decision to give businesses more time to implement the law, but they insisted that delaying the mandate for individuals – a centerpiece of the law – would put at risk health care coverage for millions.

Debate on the House floor showed the massive partisan gulf between the two parties on how the controversial health care law is working now.

"Delaying the employer mandate shows the train is in fact not coming off the rails, it's already off the rails,” Texas Republican Rep. Michael Burgess said.

California Democrat Jim McDermott cited new reports about health care costs dropping in many states and pointed to a report out Wednesday that premiums in New York state are being cut in half.

"There is no evidence of the sticker shock you will hear about. The promises we made Americans are being fulfilled and Republicans see a giant election map slowly losing red dots," McDermott said.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney brushed off the votes on Capitol Hill, saying they proved that Republicans were determined to do everything they could to undermine the law rather than ensure Americans received health care.

"There are few things more cynical than House Republicans who have made it their mission in life to repeal the Affordable Care Act and deny the American people the benefits that they would receive from implementation of the Affordable Care Act, claiming that they are concerned about the delay of the implementation of a relatively small provision within the Affordable Care Act," Carney said.


Filed under: House
soundoff (212 Responses)
  1. MaryM

    Ha, the republicans in the house are at it again. Cant repeal the ACA so they will try to destroy it one piece at a time

    July 17, 2013 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  2. Dallas

    What a waste of the taxpayers money! Boehner and Cantor are despicable.

    July 17, 2013 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  3. truth hurts but reality bites

    One measure, which passed 264-161, delayed for one year the requirement that employers provide health insurance, something the Obama administration already announced it was doing earlier this month. Thirty-five Democrats joined Republicans on the vote.
    The other bill, approved 251-174, also postponed for one year the mandate that individuals sign up for health care coverage. That legislation was backed by 22 Democrats. One Republican, Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Virginia, opposed both bills.
    -----------

    This is called bipartisan support to stop Obamacare. There are at least a few Democrats with a head on their shoulders and can see the train wreck in progress and want to stop or delay it. But the reckless Democrat controlled Senate will not take action and our very reckless President surely will not. One must truly wonder if their main goal is to damage this country beyond all chance of repair or recovery. One gets the feeling that they will not be happy until the country lies in ruin, a failed healthcare system, record unemployment and massive debt year after year.

    July 17, 2013 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  4. David

    Yet again the GOP wasting tax payers Money!

    July 17, 2013 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  5. Ward Cleaver

    With savings in NY just the start of a big buildup in improvements for care and billing and cost containment in a cycle of pharma/hospital spiraling customer prices and lower patient service the Republicans stand as the last bastion of mean spirited confrontational bigoted greed for aspiring cultural Christian fanatics. They are a disgrace to the human race.

    July 17, 2013 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  6. krg

    A poll released last month by NBC found 49% of Americans think Obamacare is a bad idea, while only 37% support it. I have a feeling this isn't a Republican vs Democrat thing anymore.

    July 17, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  7. Debbie

    And the legislation by the House on the promised jobs from the 2010 campaign?

    July 17, 2013 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  8. Donkey Party

    In New York state, health care premiums will be cut in half, or more. When even the most ignorant, rabid right-wingers start paying half the price for health care than they used to pay, the GOP is going to have only a handful of lies remaining to tell their low-info, low-intellect base before the base figures out they've been duped all their lives.

    July 17, 2013 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  9. sammy750

    Speaker Boehner continues to waste million of tax payers money is trying to get rid of the Health Care Bill. Boehner has no problem wasting money except when it comes to help those on food stamps, unemployment or college student loans.

    July 17, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  10. jpmichigan

    Take one bill at a time. By the way when are the Republicans going to come up with their own Healthcare to replace Obamacare?

    July 17, 2013 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  11. tayllor1234

    Delay?? Obamacare needs to be thrown out like yesterday's garbage.

    July 17, 2013 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  12. kl

    defund and kill the entire stupid bill.

    July 17, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  13. wirius

    Why not wait to see if it succeeds or fails, then try to revoke it? Revoking it before its really happened is just foolish and a waste of our taxpayer dollars.

    July 17, 2013 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  14. William

    "House Republicans know neither bill has any chance of actually becoming law. Wednesday’s votes were more about ramping up political pressure on congressional Democrats for the midterm elections. Obamacare continues to split the public, and GOP leaders believe a string of stories about delays and other potential problems enacting the law will create a public backlash."

    No wonder Congress has such low approval rating, THEY don't try to solve REAL PROBLEM!

    July 17, 2013 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  15. JIMM

    Have they proposed a replacement yet?

    July 17, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  16. Rina

    Glad they wasted more time and money for nothing – again. Can't wait till 2014. Every incumbent GOP candidate needs to be voted out of office.

    July 17, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    “Why is it that working Americans have to suffer the financial burdens of an overreaching government-run health care system while the same consequences for big business are delayed a year?”

    ROFL...as opposed to the same old same old...insurance getting paid and not delivering when time comes to deliver. How utterly laughable. Eric Cantor...the Bishop of Deceit and Backstabbing the American People. Smiling away like Mitt Romney while talking sweet things to potential voters.

    July 17, 2013 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  18. jman733

    Good. Maybe after the midterm elections, the Republicans will gain control of the Senate and work to repealing this awful law.

    Unless you want to work 2-3 jobs because no company will be hiring full time employees, you should write your congressman/woman to vote against this.

    July 17, 2013 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  19. Jaun in El Paso

    Nice Headline leading the uninformed masses to a false narrative. The Obama Administration wants to delay this because it impacts the 2014 elections. The headline is misleading and very unprofessional, however, that is what journalism is today.

    July 17, 2013 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  20. cj

    I find the GOP congress is so against Obama they will hurt our citizens and vote down any and everything that Obama has his name on. They will never receive my vote with there attitudes and votes they have and are making...Congress has become a major joke..

    July 17, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  21. Liz the First

    Please, folks who still think the GOP has anyone but the rich's interests at heard, please look at the number of times these clowns have voted to repeal something that will actually help the American people and how many times they've voted for anything even remotely related to job-creation!!! what is it now, thirty-nine to zero??? doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the short definition of insanity. the GOP isn't just the stupid party, they've officially become the insane party.

    July 17, 2013 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  22. Den Arden

    Republicans let that bill be! It isn't going anywhere for a while. Sheesh! lol

    July 17, 2013 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  23. hiruu

    Talk about futility...in 2014, when they lose more seats, I'm sure they will continue this waste of tax payers money.

    July 17, 2013 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  24. DougJ

    We need to purge the GOP from all elected offices, so this country can move forward. Rather than trying to destroy anything that might help average citizens, these Repubs should put forward solutions to make the law better.

    July 17, 2013 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  25. josh

    The biggest question is what gives the president the authority to change the implementation of laws as he sees fit?

    July 17, 2013 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
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