Obama asserts authority over Congress while meeting French prez

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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President Barack Obama defended his Feb. 10 decision to unilaterally rewrite Congress’ Obamacare law, and said it was a routine effort to reduce the burden of paperwork on small companies.

“What we did yesterday was simply to make a adjustment in terms of their compliance, because for many of these companies… it may take them some time, even if they’re operating in good faith,” he said.

The decision means that some small companies won’t have to fear law enforcement if they don’t comply with the text of the 2010 Obamacare law, which says the employers must provide insurance to their employers in 2014 or 2015.

But GOP leaders complained that Obama is rewriting Congress’ law to suit his political priorities.

“Once again, the president is rewriting law on a whim,” said a Feb. 10 statement from Speaker of the House John Boehner.

“If the administration doesn’t believe employers can manage the burden of the law, how can struggling families be expected to?” Boehner said.

“This continued manipulation by the president breeds confusion and erodes Americans’ confidence in him and his health care law.  We need fairness for all, with relief from ObamaCare for every American.”

“That announcement yesterday was fairly straightforward,” Obama told reporters at a joint press conference with French president Francois Hollande. The change, he said, “is consistent, actually, with what we’ve done in the individual mandate,” he added.

Last year, Obama announced that he would not enforce the law ‘s requirement that penalizes people who don’t buy health coverage.

The Feb. 10 change is also a benefit because it helps companies “get right with the law,” said Obama.

“That’s going to be our attitude about the law generally — how do we make [Obamacare] work for the American people and for their employers in an optimal sort of way,” he said.

However, Obama’s dismissive attitude towards Congress’ authority to set and revise federal law is complicating his joint effort with business to push GOP leaders to back a bill that would increase immigration.

“There’s widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws,” Boehner said Thursday. “And it’s going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes.”

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