Roe, Issa Question Whether White House Can Delay Obamacare Mandate

Wednesday, 03 Jul 2013 05:29 PM

By Dan Weil

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Two top House Republicans Wednesday challenged the Obama administration, questioning whether it has the legal power to delay the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate.

Tennessee Rep. Phil Roe, chairman of the Education and Workforce Health subcommittee, and California Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the Oversight Committee, questioned whether the White House can make the move without approval from Congress, The Hill reports.

The administration said Tuesday night it will postpone implementing the employer mandate until 2015. It was supposed to begin Jan. 1, 2014.

The provision states that businesses with more than 50 workers must offer health insurance or pay fines. The rule drew strong criticism from businesses themselves.

Roe said he will begin an investigation into the issue. "This action raises a lot of questions about whether the Obama administration can simply ignore the law when it’s convenient for them," he said in a statement Wednesday. "I have asked Congress' research arm to investigate because I don't think any president has the authority to pick and choose what parts of law to follow."

As for Issa, he said in a statement Tuesday night, "It is unclear that [President Obama] has the authority to do this without Congress."

While the delay only applies to the employer mandate, "it throws into disarray the administration's effort to put [other parts of Obamacare] into effect by Jan. 1," according to The New York Times.

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