The House Republican leadership is mulling a pair of votes that would force Democrats to go on the record in supporting or rejecting delays — both real and potential — to aspects of President Obama’s health care law.
Speaker John A. Boehner and his Republican colleagues on Tuesday discussed putting the White House’s decision to delay the employer mandate up to a vote in the chamber to see where Democrats stand, according to a source who attended a closed-door Republican conference meeting.
The source said leadership is also considering a vote on a one-year delay to the individual mandate. Mr. Obama has not proposed a delay to the requirement that all Americans acquire health insurance, but Republican leaders say everyone should be entitled to a delay, and not just “big business.”
“There’s a rickety old stool holding up this entire law,” Mr. Boehner told his colleagues, according to the source in the room. “The legs of that stool are the individual parts of Obamacare … The president himself kicked one of those legs out from under the stool last week when he delayed the employer mandate.”
Speaking publicly to reporters, Mr. Boehner vowed to hold another vote to repeal the entire health care law. The House has attempted to repeal all or part of the law more than 30 times, but their efforts have died in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
Mr. Boehner and his top lieutenants wrote to Mr. Obama on Tuesday to demand an explanation for the administration’s sudden decision last week to delay the mandate on employers, which requires firms of 50 or more workers to offer adequate health insurance or pay a fine.
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The White House said the administration is trying to be flexible, and the delay will have little real world impact since most employers already offer insurance.
But critics of the law wonder whether employees who were slated to gain coverage will now seek government subsidies to buy insurance on the individual market.
“There is a lot of enthusiasm among House Republicans to vote in the near future to give individuals and families the same protection from the terrible consequences of the law,” said an aide to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican.