Boehner, GOP May Offer 1-Year Delay of Individual Mandate

Tuesday, 24 Sep 2013 10:46 PM

By Cathy Burke

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House Republican leaders are considering attaching a one-year delay of Obamacare's individual mandate to the Senate's government funding measure, Politico reported Tuesday night.

But the move has its risks: When the House version goes back to the Senate, Democrats might not even schedule a vote -- and there might not be enough time to push the legislation through the chamber before Oct. 1, when the government, without a funding bill, would shut down.

For now, it's unclear if a Senate funding measure will even make it to the House before Sunday.

House Republicans return from a brief recess Wednesday. If the GOP leadership's proposal comes through, it will be via the House Republican Conference, which meets Thursday, Politico reported.

Meanwhile, House Republicans also begin their push to lift the government's spending limit this week, and could do so with a one-year delay of the entire health care law attached.

“We’ll deal with whatever the Senate passes when they pass it,” Michael Steel, a spokesman for Republican House Speaker John Boehner, told Politico. “There’s no point in speculating before that.”

Politico reported delaying Obamacare's individual mandate is appealing because it would make sense to voters: President Obama has already delayed the employer mandate that requires businesses with more than 50 workers to provide health care for their workers.

And the proposal may have some support among Senate Republicans, Politico reported.

“I don’t know how the Democrats defend the fact that businesses don’t have to comply but individuals do so. I think the House strategy gets better as the week goes on,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said Tuesday.

The GOP strategy will play out against the prospects of how a possible government shutdown will play out across the nation. Most Americans don't like Obamacare, but they may not like a government shutdown either.

Politico reported House GOP leaders also are thinking about other add-ons to the Senate measure that comes to them, including a measure that would allow employers to ignore a federal requirement that they cover birth control as part of their health insurance packages, and another that would prevent the federal government from making the employer contribution for the health care of members of Congress and their staff.

Politico reported voting on a funding resolution will start Wednesday in the Senate, the same day the House returns to Washington.

On Friday or Saturday, the House will move ahead with a bill to hike the debt ceiling, with a smattering of other favored conservative policies that will ride alongside. A one-year delay of the entirety of Obamacare will be attached to a one-year hike of the debt ceiling, as will language to jump-start construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and instructions for Congress to rewrite the tax code, Politico reported.

The Treasury Department estimates that the debt ceiling will need to be hiked by mid-October.


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