President Obama was none too happy about action in the House today, tweeting from @barackobama, “Instead of reforming #immigration, the House today is trying to keep millions of Americans from getting better health care at a lower cost.”
His Twitter account later reiterated the sentiment. He was referring to a vote in the House to delay the individual mandate in Obamacare just as President Obama delayed the employer mandate last week. The Republican Party’s sympathetic and decidedly populist pitch— employers have a lobby to assure them a waiver of a mandate, and the little guy who’s arguably more vulnerable shouldn’t be left out to dry. The House also voted to codify into law Obama’s previously announced employer mandate delay. The difference between the delays is the GOP-led House is using the generally recognized Constitutional tool of passed legislation to effect change instead of the less orthodox Obama method of executive caprice.
Both bills passed with support from dozens of Democrats despite a veto threat from the White House— 35 crossed over for the employer mandate and 22 for the individual mandate. Brian Faughnan and BaseballCrank put it succinctly:
@BrianFaughnan “35 Democrats defy White House by agreeing with President Obama.”
— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) July 17, 2013
By the president’s own standard, he kept many Americans from “getting better health care at a lower cost” just last week. By Sec. Kathleen Sebelius’ standard, dozens of Democrats are pretty much Bull Connor today, or something. As is always the case with the Obamacare double standard, the president and the law’s supporters believe they are in the moral right delaying his signature bill simply because they’re doing it for the right reasons. Call it the “Bachelorette” standard for executive authority.
As Guy Benson points out, Republicans remain on safe ground with this push. Two recent polls show a majority of Americans want the individual mandate delayed and a whopping 12 percent support it going into effect in 2014, as scheduled.
If you put that through the poll-to-righteous-legislation translator the Democrats used for gun control, the House is well within its rights to lambaste an intransigent Senate for ignoring the will of 88 percent of the American people on an issue of great importance. Furthermore, since bipartisanship is the other measure of legislative worth after public support, then these two votes are far more worthy than the original vote to pass Obamacare.
But that’s nothing new. The quest for repeal has consistently been far more bipartisan than the bill’s original passage. As I wrote in my very first HotAir post in 2012:
Today marks the 33rd vote the Republican-led Congress has taken to repeal all or part of ObamaCare. Many media outlets are using the stat du jour as sort of de facto proof of repeal’s futility. Look at these silly, extremist Republicans, tilting at government-subsidized windmills 33 times!
The fact is this is only the second vote on total repeal, the first one coming in January of 2011 after Americans elected a wave of 63 new Republicans to, you know, repeal ObamaCare. Both votes for full repeal, in 2011 and 2012, were more bipartisan than the vote to pass ObamaCare, with three and five Democrats crossing over to the Republican side, respectively. And, I know we all love when we can work together, across the aisle, to get things undone. Beyond that, many of the votes on the Washington Post’s list feature far more Democratic defectors to the anti-ObamaCare side than the other way around.
The figure 33, of course, includes all sorts of bills that were only tangentially about ObamaCare repeal, or tweaked small parts of the bill, often with Democratic endorsement and votes. It includes several bills passed with hard-fought compromise later signed by Obama, like the debt-ceiling deal, and other bills that accomplished Obama’s legislative goals, such as the payroll tax cut extension bill.
So, are the House’s machinations futile and extreme?
There’s already been bipartisan cooperation in repealing large parts of the health care law in the House— the 1099 reporting requirement and the CLASS Act.
The House is using the proper legislative process to do exactly what the White House has already unilaterally declared, and then extending Obama’s logic to exempt regular Americans, not just those with lobbies. The public and even parts of the president’s party are with them.
Now, onto requiring verification before subsidization. Don’t look now, but the Urban Institute says 96 percent of young people will qualify for subsidies in Obamacare— one of the keys to selling it to the population that’s supposed to spend a bunch of money to prop up the older and the sicker. I bet we can get it to 100 percent without any fraud control!