[UPDATED] WH: We’ll veto legislation delaying the employer mandate
posted at 12:26 pm on July 17, 2013 by Guy Benson
President Obama would veto a House bill aimed at legally delaying the employer mandate for a year, the White House announced on Tuesday, even though his administration has already issued a regulation embracing the delay. On July 2, the Department of Treasury announced it would delay until 2015 a provision of Obamacare that requires larger employers to provide acceptable health insurance or pay a penalty. But it wasn’t clear that the administration had the legal authority to do so, as the text of Obamacare states that the mandate, “shall apply to months beginning after December 31, 2013.” Thus, Republicans have introduced a bill in the House to codify into law the delay that Obama already supports. They have also proposed legislation that would extend the same delay to individuals required to purchase government-approved health insurance or pay a tax.
Phil Klein’s verdict:
It’s an incredibly arrogant attitude toward power for Obama to suggest he can arbitrarily rewrite the law by waving his regulatory wand with one hand, and then wave his veto pen with the other when Congress asserts its Constitutional authority to make changes to the law.
This isn’t the first time this White House has leveled a veto threat against Obamacare-related legislation crafted to codify an action Obama had already unilaterally taken. The president also vowed to reject a law that would have granted him more discretionary power and flexibility vis-a-vis sequester cuts. That would have complicated his ability to blame someone else for the consequences of his own idea, you see. Can’t have that. This president wants exactly the amount of power he needs at any given moment to achieve his immediate political ends — no more, no less. And he takes it. Congressional Republicans should keep plugging away at their “delay the individual mandate tax” push; the public is with them. If Senate Democrats refuse to vote for a measure that appeals to people’s sense of fairness and delays an exceedingly unpopular provision in an unpopular law, let them justify their actions to voters. And if the bill somehow gets to Obama’s desk, let him veto it, then relentlessly tie vulnerable Democrats to his decision as the 2014 campaign narrative takes shape. I’ll leave you with Boehner using Obama’s favorite word — “fairness” — a lot during his press conference today. He hails the passage twin Obamacare delay bills, demands equal treatment for families and individuals, and reminds the president that only Congress has the authority to write or re-write laws:
UPDATE: The House has defied the White House’s veto threat, easily passing both the bill mentioned above, and a companion bill that would also postpone the mandate tax for a year. The bipartisan margins were substantial thanks to roughly three dozen House Democrats who ignored Nancy Pelosi’s pre-vote whipping and sided with the GOP on the employer mandate. Nearly two dozen did the same on the mandate tax. Over to you, Senate. This is perfect and pithy:
@BrianFaughnan “35 Democrats defy White House by agreeing with President Obama.”
— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) July 17, 2013