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. Anonymous

    I seem to remember something about the definition of insanity...

    July 18, 2013 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  2. Scott

    Eric Cantor is not fooling anyone with these mockery bills. He has always been first in line to support business over individuals. He is simply taking this stance now to delay yet again, any implementation of Obama Care period. He could care less otherwise about the plight of the individual.

    July 18, 2013 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  3. Anon

    Morons, they know this has zero chance of passing and are just wasting time and tax payer money. I really hope these psychopath tea partiers get the boot in 2014 but we know it won't happen.

    July 18, 2013 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  4. mountainlady

    Obstructionism at its very best. How long are we going to waste taxpayers money on this GOP circus? The law has been defended over and over again in Congress and approved by the Supreme Court. If there are flaws as it is written than FIX IT. As Lee Iacocca once said "lead, follow or get out of the way". The GOP needs to get out of the way. We live in the wealthiest country in the world and have the most expensive care system several times over in the world and yet can only get mediocre health care. National health care has been needed in the US for decades and now that we finally have a start on it all the Republicans can do is be "in the way". They have no better ideas. They are content to have American children who can't get health care. They have no problem with hard working families whose employers cut health care benefits. If you're not wealthy you apparently don't deserve decent health care. This needs to stop.

    July 18, 2013 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  5. Name

    If Canaan policy recount is denied then you don't have a stand point basis of any pre finance taxation recall for parliamentary government refinance

    July 18, 2013 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  6. Squincher

    WTF is wrong with the House??? At least the Senate still believes in some sort of bi-partisanship (example: agreeing on procedures on fillibusters and rules).
    These guys only pander and cater to their base; they make no attempt to tackle the nation's problems.

    July 18, 2013 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  7. FloydZepp

    As an American, and a former Republican, I am sick of the Republican Party.

    July 18, 2013 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  8. Thatguy371

    Sideshow indeed. I guess the repubs must be paid to do something other than work for the people of this nation. I guess they know better than us how, when, or if we should have proper healthcare... like every other industrialized nation BUT us has.

    July 18, 2013 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  9. Premal D.Shah

    Boehner and his coteries should know that we Americans are aware of the fact that they are having their pockets filled with American currency from the health industry. Obamacare is our last resort for those who have been refused treatment for pre-existing conditions. The members of the US House are worse than beggars and vandals!

    July 18, 2013 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  10. gameaudio

    Wow if CNN is actually putting in print that Jim McDermott is from California I wonder what else is patently false about this article. Its one thing to screw up a young congressman's district but of of the longest tenured congressman in the House? Way to go CNN...

    July 18, 2013 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  11. Tommy G

    These bills are the only LEGAL way to change Obamacare. If Obama wants to delay or change anything in the law he needs to have Congress pass laws like this and sign them. He is not a dictator though he thinks he is. He cannot make up, change, disregard or suspend laws under of system of government. This sort of imperial president is exactly what our Founding Fathers warned against and designed safe guards into the system to prevent. If Obama continues to act as a dictator, then he needs to be removed or his actions challenged in the USSC.

    July 18, 2013 03:02 am at 3:02 am |
  12. Yogi Berra

    It's deja vu all over again

    July 18, 2013 03:29 am at 3:29 am |
  13. Daddyofjas

    Any chance of the House passing something that is NOT a waste of time? I know I know, give the GOP control of everything and they will.

    July 18, 2013 04:16 am at 4:16 am |
  14. pubesrtoast

    and the republican devolution to extinction continues...

    July 18, 2013 04:18 am at 4:18 am |
  15. 60minuteman

    Unfortunate that the House is used to make political statements but is useless as a positive force for the people.

    July 18, 2013 04:34 am at 4:34 am |
  16. Chris

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results.

    July 18, 2013 05:01 am at 5:01 am |
  17. CJEH

    *sigh* Obamacare passed. It was found legal by the Supreme Court. Could the 'leadership' please move on to something like, I dunno, that Job Creation and Raising Up The Middle Class thing they all swore was their priority when they were running for office?

    July 18, 2013 05:06 am at 5:06 am |
  18. SpencerRifle

    What's the problem? They're doing exactly what I elected them to do...oppose Obama & hold his policies at bay in any way possible.

    July 18, 2013 05:19 am at 5:19 am |
  19. Norman T. Stone

    I cannot understand why someone would veto for a Tea Party or GOP candidate...they have not come up with any jobs bills or anything to move this country in a positive direction. If reinstating slavery was an issue today these people would support it, look what the states that have Republican let governments they all are trying to redistrict their states voting districts to gain and keep control of the governments and block classes of people from voting. The GOP/Tea Party lead House are anti-American, Confederates, who are thinking and looking backwards...become politically active study the issues and when a politician ask you to vote for them ask yourself what are they going to do for or to me?

    July 18, 2013 05:58 am at 5:58 am |
  20. Brad

    Republicans please stop playing partisan politics and move on to job creation and the economy like you said you would when running for office. Too many people out there are just waiting for an opportunity to go back to work and get a little of their self respect back.

    July 18, 2013 05:58 am at 5:58 am |
  21. Jack

    Paying the salaries of these people makes me sick...

    July 18, 2013 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  22. Waldo

    I don’t know what’s wrong these republicans I wish they would just leave well enough alone, and just to think we pay for their health care. What would they do if they were delaying health care????

    July 18, 2013 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  23. Rosa

    I guess they want a single payer universal coverage model. That would get rid of the mandates and get employers off the hook. Maybe they will pass something useful like that next instead if these stupid meaningless stalling gestures.

    July 18, 2013 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  24. declan

    Living in NY healthcare costs have tripled since this "law" was passed. I have the bills to prove it. If they drop 50% I'm still paying a lot more than a few years ago.

    July 18, 2013 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  25. Michael

    What are the GOP alternative? Having millions of Americans un- or under-insured is a national disgrace. Do not people realize that the current situation is untenable? Every American should have equal access to quality health care and the health providers need to be reigned in – one of the leading causes of bankruptcy in the US is health related. Besides, there are many more important issues facing the country than this ...

    July 18, 2013 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
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