House Republicans Promise to Delay Obamacare Tax Penalty

Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 06:25 PM

 

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Republican leaders in the House said Wednesday they were committed to delaying Obamacare's tax penalty provision and would use oversight powers to hold President Barack Obama's administration "accountable" for problems with its launch.

Republican leaders have complained about a lack of transparency about problems with the launch of the government run healthcare insurance exchanges on Oct. 1, saying that House Democrats were briefed by administration officials, but Republicans were not.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said on Wednesday that Republicans would seek to delay a requirement of the 2010 Affordable Care Act that all Americans obtain health insurance or face a tax penalty starting next year — at least until questions over the rollout of the HealthCare.gov website and detrimental effects of the law can be cleared up.

"The rollout of Obamacare is nothing short of a debacle, and the American people are now fearful of their healthcare," Cantor told reporters after a meeting with House Republicans. "With so many unanswered questions and the problems arising around this rollout, it doesn't make any sense to impose this 1 percent mandate tax on the American people."

Republicans have opposed the healthcare law, Obama's signature domestic policy achievement, on grounds that it is an unwarranted expansion of the federal government.

House Speaker John Boehner said that Republicans would use their oversight powers to conduct hearings into problems with the main federal insurance exchange website, as well as other problems with the law, including reports that it is causing employers to drop their own healthcare plans.

"Whether it's Obamacare or issues with the Department of Defense, it's our job to hold them accountable. And when it comes to Obamacare, there's a lot to be held accountable," Boehner said.

He said the party would continue to press for government spending cuts, despite House Republicans' failure to halt funding for Obamacare in a fight this month over a government shutdown and the federal debt limit.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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