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. jp

    Man funny thing I just read this artice about how ObamaCare saved NY 50% in healthcare costs

    July 17, 2013 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  2. just me

    Jobs jobs jobs!! Yeeeaaah ...

    July 17, 2013 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  3. Dick Smegma

    Great!!!
    Postpone Hollow Suit Harry !

    July 17, 2013 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  4. NSAH8

    in the meantime, our economy continues on it's bubble path and our Constitutional rights are being destroyed one NSA act at a time

    July 17, 2013 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  5. Paul

    Republicans have wasted millions of dollars on repealing obamacare like 40 times . If they spent their time and effort on creating jobs ( as boehner promised) the country would be better off. This do nothing group of republican legislators in the house need to be replaced.

    July 17, 2013 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  6. Paul

    The Republican-led House of Representatives is completely useless, and should just go away.

    July 17, 2013 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  7. craigorie

    The house GOP will go after anything that Obama does. They really have a strange illness.

    July 17, 2013 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  8. enuff

    Really? I guess if it doesn't work the first 100 times...oh wait, isn't that the definition of insanity?

    July 17, 2013 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  9. fandancy

    I guess it would be asking too much for the House to actually do something constructive for a change.

    July 17, 2013 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  10. unretred05

    More unproductive congressmen spend their time in the blowing of their own horns. "Look what we did Koch brothers. Send us more money and we'll keep passing dead-end legislation."
    Why don't they save everyone time and resign if they aren't going to do anything productive.

    July 17, 2013 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  11. Charles Hurst-Author

    The notion of some must pay so others may not is the premise of Marxism. And this philosophy in healthcare existed long before Obama although he has certainly accelerated it. In my fictional writings I speak of the infiltration of Marxism via this type of mindset–that one must pay so another may not. I fear my fiction will soon become a reality.

    Charles Hurst, Author of THE SECOND FALL. An offbeat story of the Armageddon.

    July 17, 2013 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  12. John Puccio

    And they say the House Tea Party Republicans have created a do-nothing Congress. No way. They keep trying to repeal Obamacare and send millions of poor sick people back onto the streets looking for medical care. That's doing something. Of course, it's something worse than worthless, like the Tea Party itself.

    July 17, 2013 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  13. RichardSRussell

    John Boehner is a waste of oxygen. With all the REAL problems facing the country, he continues to fritter away the time, temper, and good will of the House of Representatives on these utterly doomed showcase measures.

    July 17, 2013 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  14. Name

    Republicans just can't stop creating those new jobs – ha ha!

    July 17, 2013 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  15. Optimist5

    Looks like impotence is the name of the game. Eventually the chickens will come home to roost and a lot of legislators will be out of work.

    July 17, 2013 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  16. dody 2

    Hopefully the Dems will be in the majority after the next election so the House can pass bills that will benefit the citizens and make this country better.

    July 17, 2013 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  17. tony

    All republican politicians have enjoyed free gov't health care and wouldn't swap it for anything. But they don't want you and I to have something even just a tiny bit as good.

    July 17, 2013 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  18. Reality

    Obamacare was a disaster from the start. Everything Obama touches, it becomes a disaster. He should have kept to community organizing, for the sake of the country.

    July 17, 2013 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  19. DH

    It's the law.... Get over it Repubs!!!!!!!!!!

    Millions are already using parts of ACA and are grateful. The elderly no longer have to pay the $800 donut hole before they get their drugs......kids can now stay on their parents coverage until age 26......pre-existing health conditions no longer keep you from obtaining coverage etc.
    Repubs realize once Americans start signing up on 10/1 and see the affordable rates and the benefits they will know the Repubs lies and hysterics were just that, lies and hysterics. 30 million people will finally be able to do what the rich and well connected can do....... See a dr.

    July 17, 2013 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  20. guest

    Last year my work cut back on my health insurance. They claimed it was because of changes at the federal level.

    No big deal my wife had good insurance .

    Today her work announced that due to 2018 rule changes they would be cutting back on health insurance. The current insurance is considered high value and they would have to pay an excise tax if they did not make changes. So much for no changes if you like your current insurance.

    I've voted democrat since Gore, but will not vote against my self interest next election cycle.

    July 17, 2013 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  21. Jeb Bush

    The Teapublican House is incapable of governing.

    July 17, 2013 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  22. TonyInNYC

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Either that or it's the definition of stupidity.

    July 17, 2013 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  23. GAK

    I wonder Majority Leader Cantor, how much money have you wasted in the House on votes to over turn or stop implementation of the AFC?? How many millions of tax payer money has been wasted on useless votes?? Do you or any of your party have a plan ready to take the place of the AFC?? I doubt very much you all have any plan or idea to bring health care to the masses!! Why not stop wasting our money and do what we sent you there to do, pass a budget that can get passed in the Senate and signed by the President,if there are flaws in the AFC, FIX THEM!!! quit crying over spilt milk!! My god its dried and blown away already..Start acting like adults and not 4 year olds..

    July 17, 2013 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  24. Person

    I wish the House would govern rather than throwing repeated tantrums. As we approach the next election, I predict two things will happen. 1) Right wingers will suddenly try to look much more cuddly and moderate. 2) Right wingers will once again beat up on a minority to drum up votes among their base.

    July 17, 2013 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  25. D

    Please, continue beating that dead horse, Mr Speaker.
    Hmm, who was it that said recently "it's [the ACA] the law of the land now."??

    July 17, 2013 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
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