President Obama threatened to veto two bills the House of Representatives will vote on Wednesday, both of which are designed to embarrass the administration over recent delays in implementing key Obamacare mandates.
Obama’s gonna do what Obama wants to do
“The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 2667 and H.R. 2668 because the bills, taken together, would cost millions of hard‑working middle class families the security of affordable health coverage and care they deserve,” the veto statement issued by the White House Office of Management and Budget. The phrase “taken together” is key in that statement because the first bill the House will consider, the Authority for Mandate Delay Act, simply puts into law the very same employer mandate Obama announced shortly before July 4.
Why would Obama threaten to veto a bill that explicitly allows him to do what he has already announced he wants to do? Because if he signed the bill, it would basically be admitting he never had the legal authority to suspend the employer mandate in the first place. Considering all the other implementation problems Obamacare is having, the last thing Obama wants to do is admit he must implement Obamacare as written. Instead, he will continue to seek maximum flexibility in enforcing, or not enforcing, the law as it is politically convenient for him to do so.
An impending embarrassment
But those veto threats may not even be necessary. It is not at all clear that House Republicans have the votes to pass either the employer mandate delay, which Obama has already announced, or the individual mandate delay that House Republicans are seeking through the Fairness for American Families Act.
Conservative groups like the Club for Growth and Heritage Action are opposing both bills, since they believe any delay only undermines efforts to fully repeal the health care law. “Repealing only some portions of the statute will allow other portions more fully to take root,” The Heritage Foundation explained Monday.
On what authority?
Before either mandate delay vote takes place, the Health Subcommittee of the Ways and Means Committee, will hold its second hearing on the Obamacare mandate delays. Chairman Kevin Brady’s, R-Texas, first hearing on the delay featured only experts who testified on the economic impacts of the administration’s policy. Wednesday’s hearing has just one witness, Treasury Department Senior Advisor Mark Iwry, who is expected to testify on the legal basis of Obama’s mandate delays.
All of these events are just a prelude to this fall’s fight over passing a new continuing resolution that would keep the government funded past the existing Sep. 30 deadline. Expect to see more targeted efforts to block funding for Obamacare’s health insurance subsidies then.
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