House passes two bills to delay key Obamacare requirements
July 17th, 2013
07:48 PM ET
1 year 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. McLovin

    The GOP, Unions, big business, individuals, etc......You would be hard pressed to find any group of people that aren't against Obamacare.

    July 17, 2013 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  2. Tenie

    Does anyone remember when obama said in a speech that if you couldn't afford insurance the government (taxpaying Americans) would help them? This is a medicaid expansion paid for by those Americans still working.

    July 17, 2013 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  3. Frank

    This government is so broken it makes me want to vomit

    July 17, 2013 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  4. Belseth

    Nice to see Congress has so much time on their hands they can waste it on procedural votes that have no chance of becoming law or redundant bills because Boehner got his panties in a twist. Corporate America would love to get rid of retirement plans and health care because that money could be lining the pockets of the rich. That's why they keep fighting health care guarantees and keep trying to shift retirement plans to personal plans all the while corporations are cutting wages so people can't aford to pay for retirement or health care. Like I say to them it's a win/win, people get sick and die young so they don't need a retirement. Just remember all this the next time you vote Republican.

    July 17, 2013 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  5. glad to live up north

    How can any sane, working, middleclass ,poor, woman or 99 % of population vote for ANY Republican ever. Let this right wing nutcase party die it's proper death and never ever vote for 1 again.

    July 17, 2013 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  6. simplefaith

    People of the United States,
    You have seen the lousy work Republicans in the House of Representatives have been doing. All they do is go against anything President wants to do to help us. Please remember NOT to vote for those same obstructionists we have put up with for the last four years.

    July 17, 2013 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  7. emskadittle

    wow and we pay these guys

    July 17, 2013 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  8. Tom

    I am sick and tired of a group of 400 odd individuals, with the finest health care MY TAX DOLLARS buy them for the rest of their lives, shafting the rest of us. Tie their benefits to this plan and watch the vote change to 100% for the Affordable Care Act.

    July 17, 2013 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  9. TM

    It's good to know that Republicans have so much free time on their hands to make symbolic votes AFTER they've taken care of passing all those needed "jobs" bills. Oh, wait.......
    Must be nice for them. A nice, six figure a year job, with lifetime pension, where you still get paid for doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

    July 17, 2013 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  10. jim

    If you cant pass your bill in the system, you have failed. Regardless of who people think is responsible, Obama failed on this one.

    July 17, 2013 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  11. Name

    Talk about wasting money. Another bill that has no chance.

    July 17, 2013 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  12. onlyfacts

    If you vote Republican, you are an idiot!

    July 17, 2013 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  13. Evelyn Connaway

    Hey you do nothing bunch of republicans and some democrats – quit wasting time and our money on these stupid bills trying to knock down ACA. Anything that doesn't work well once it is in force, will be corrected by President Obama and the people working on behalf of the people who need and want coverage – unless of course you republicans figure out a way you can make money off it on the side! You republicans are useless to the real MAJORITY of the American people – we aren't rich and influential – but we are the MAJORITY!

    July 17, 2013 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  14. MBSeattle

    Repeal congress they are wasting your money.

    July 17, 2013 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  15. John/kc

    Aren't we all just so tired of republicans!

    July 17, 2013 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  16. Doctor

    Does the foolishness never end?

    July 17, 2013 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  17. ditdahdit

    A useless collection of miscreants now inhabit 'The Peoples House'. And our two are among the worst.

    July 17, 2013 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  18. DCmestari

    Boehner's remark bout what the Prez can an cannot decide what is legal "...is fundamentally wrong." is about as naive as a demagogue can get. Mr. Boehner, that is what a veto is/does.How many more BILLIONS of taxpayer dollars are going to be spent humoring this sort of juvenile behavour?

    July 17, 2013 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  19. egsg

    tick tock GOP.

    July 17, 2013 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  20. Against Socialized Health Care

    For the past 2 years.... EVERY SINGLE quarter, my insurer has had some BS excuse to raise the rate on my individual health plan.....EVERY SINGLE QUARTER!!! If it's not merely the fact that I've reached a new age group, it's the fact that they're ramping up for Obamacare in 2014...with a WHOPPING 9% increase every year!!! Or at least it used to be every year, in April, when open enrollment ensued. But then this coming year, they've moved the "regular annual" increase from April up to January!!! SCUMBAGS!

    I wouldn't mind so much if I only had to pay a little extra for people who CAN'T work (disabled, elderly), but I absolutely abhor having to pay for those who WON'T work (welfare leeches) and those who can't BE insured (those whose illnesses are so bad that they have no hope of survival anyway).

    Where is the incentive to even WORK anymore?! Where is the incentive to be HEALTHY (like I am)?!

    Let's just rename Washington D.C. to Sherwood Forest! Thieves!

    July 17, 2013 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  21. Floyd from Illinois

    Shame on Republicans.

    Shame.

    July 17, 2013 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  22. Against Socialized Health Care

    For the past 2 years.... EVERY SINGLE quarter, my insurer has had some BS excuse to raise the rate on my individual health plan.....EVERY SINGLE QUARTER!!! If it's not merely the fact that I've reached a new age group, it's the fact that they're ramping up for Obamacare in 2014...with a WHOPPING 9% increase every year!!! Or at least it used to be every year, in April, when open enrollment ensued. But then this coming year, they've moved the "regular annual" increase from April up to January!!! SCUMBAGS!

    I wouldn't mind so much if I only had to pay a little extra for people who CAN'T work (disabled, elderly), but I absolutely abhor having to pay for those who WON'T work (welfare leeches) and those who can't BE insured (those whose illnesses are so bad that they have no hope of survival anyway).

    Where is the incentive to even WORK anymore?! Where is the incentive to be HEALTHY (like I am)?!

    Let's just rename Washington D.C. to Sherwood Forest! Thieves!

    July 17, 2013 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    Forbes magazine had an online tool to help Individuals calculate how much their health insurance premiums will cost if they do not get health insurance provided by the employer.

    If you are into facts, get the information. If you are into fear and lies,
    vote Republican.

    July 17, 2013 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  24. noly972

    "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results."
    Attributed to Albert Einstein

    July 17, 2013 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  25. Dennis

    Can the GOP get any more pathetic than this?...Yes they can!

    July 17, 2013 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
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