House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) is backing leadership’s proposal to hold votes next week on delaying the employer and individual mandates in Obamacare. Delaying the mandates will help Republicans achieve their ultimate goal of repealing the law altogether, he tells National Review Online.
“We should have these votes, and members of Congress should make their positions clear,” he says. ”I think most conservatives in the House think having these delay votes are helpful to getting rid of the law entirely. These mandates are sort of the entire core of the law.”
Last week, the Obama administration announced its decision to unilaterally delay the health-care law’s employer mandate until 2015, conveniently beyond the upcoming mid-term elections. The law’s controversial individual mandate, perhaps its most central provision, remains on track to take effect in 2014. House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) told reporters Thursday the House would vote next week on a one-year delay of the employer mandate — essentially providing legislative approval for the president’s unilateral decision — as well as a one-year delay of the individual mandate.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) urged members on Wednesday to “seize the moment” and back the plan. Some conservatives may balk, however, at supporting any measure that stops short of full repeal. “Do not get cute here,” RedState’s Erick Erickson warned Republicans in a blog post. “Americans sent Republicans to Washington to end Obamacare, not mend it. Repeal the whole damn thing, not parts.”
Ryan acknowledged that members had some differing views about the best political strategy, but insisted there was no disagreement as to the ultimate goal, which is “getting rid of Obamacare.“ The brazenness of the president’s decision has merely ”emboldened” Republicans in their efforts to attack the law.
The votes to delay the law’s mandates would serve several purposes, Ryan argues. It would allow the legislative branch to “assert its authority” by codifying the president’s unilateral decision, which some observers consider to be an illegal act. “The president can’t decide which laws he wants to enforce and not enforce,” he says. It would also force Democrats to choose between voting to delay the individual mandate as well, or siding with the administration in giving special treatment to businesses, but not individuals and families.
“Do they really want to defend a position to let big-government contractors off the hook, but not a family of four living in Ohio?” Ryan says. ”Do they want to let big banks off the hook for Obamacare, but not the single parent trying to make ends meet? Good luck defending that position.”
“We’ve obviously voted for full repeal,” he adds. “We know that this president is not going to sign that. Delaying these core provisions shows that the law has fundamentally failed, it puts Democrats in the hot seat, and it helps us ultimately get to repeal. I think delaying the onset of a new entitlement is important if we want to stop the new entitlement.”