GOP: Delay Obamacare's individual mandate, too

The delay of Obamacare's employer mandate was "great news for businesses," Rep. Todd Young, R-Ind., said in the weekly GOP address on Saturday, arguing that the president should delay the implementation of the individual mandate as well.

"Because let's be fair about this: If the president's going to help out businesses by exempting them from the law, he ought to give the same relief to folks like you," added Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., who delivered the address alongside Young.

The employer mandate requires businesses with over 50 employees to provide health coverage to those employees. The individual mandate requires people without health insurance to purchase coverage or pay a fine.

Griffin and Young touted a pair of bills passed by the House of Representatives on Wednesday that would delay implementation of both mandates by one year to buy people and businesses additional time to adjust to the new law.

"President Obama threatened to veto our proposals altogether," Young said. "We take that to mean he thinks its fair to let businesses off the hook while leaving middle class families in harm's way."

"We urge him to reconsider his veto threat," he added, calling on Democrats in the Senate to schedule a vote on the delayed mandates "in the name of fairness."

The Senate, controlled by Democrats, is extremely unlikely to take up the House bill, and President Obama has shown no signs of backing down from his veto threat.

On Thursday, Mr. Obama defended the rollout of the health care law, acknowledging "glitches" and bumps in the road, but pointing out that consumers are already receiving savings from insurance companies as a result of provisions in Obamacare.

Health care reform, the president said, is "doing what it's designed to do - deliver more choices, better benefits, a check on rising costs."

Republicans, for their part, have said they'd like to uproot the law in its entirety, a goal reiterated by Young on Saturday. "The sooner we can delay, dismantle, and repeal the president's health care law, the sooner we can get people back to work and focus on expanding opportunity for everyone," he said.

In his own weekly address on Saturday, President Obama praised the Senate for "finally" confirming Richard Cordrayto lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Senate Republicans, the president argued, delayed a vote on Cordray's nomination for two years "not because they didn't think he was the right person for the job, but because they didn't like the law that set up the consumer watchdog in the first place."

But that watchdog is already safeguarding the interests of the American people, the president said.

"Because of the work that's been done at the CFPB over the past two years, today, mortgage lenders, student lenders, payday lenders, and credit reporting and debt collection agencies all face greater scrutiny," he explained. "And if they don't play by the rules, now you have somewhere to go to get some measure of justice."

The showdown between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate over confirming the president's nominees built to a climax this week after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., threatened to change the Senate rules to allow executive branch nominees to be confirmed by a simple majority of 51 votes, rather than the 60-vote supermajority Republicans were insisting upon. The fight was defused after the parties struck an agreement to hold an up or down vote on a raft of nominees that had been delayed for some time, including Cordray.

  • Jake Miller

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