House votes to delay individual mandate

Alexis Levinson | Political Reporter

The House voted Wednesday to delay the individual mandate for Obamacare until 2015.

The vote passed 250-160, with 27 Democrats joining a majority of Republicans to vote for the delay. Only one Republican voted against the bill — Georgia Rep. Paul Broun, who said he felt anything short of a full repeal of the law was insufficient.

The bill, sponsored by Kansas Republican Rep. Lynn Jenkins, is called the “Suspending the Individual Mandate Penalty Law Equals Fairness Act,” otherwise known as the SIMPLE Fairness Act, and it would delay the fine on individuals who do not have health insurance until January 1, 2015.

“The president has unilaterally re-written the law to give corporations a pass, while leaving the rest of America on the hook for its costly mandates and penalties,” Speaker of the House John Boehner said in a statement after the vote. “The Simple Fairness Act does just what its title says – it extends basic fairness to every American facing a penalty for opting out of this train wreck. If the president cannot even implement his own law, how can he ask struggling families to pay for it? The president owes all Americans the same consideration he has granted big businesses, and he can start by calling on Senate Democrats to pass this measure so he can sign it immediately.”

The president does not intend to sign it, immediately or otherwise — he promised to veto it.

“The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 4118, the Suspending the Individual Mandate Penalty Equals Fairness Act, because the bill would increase health insurance premiums, decrease tax credits, increase the number of uninsured, and shift costs to businesses, workers, and health care providers. Rather than attempting once again to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which the House has tried to do approximately 50 times, it is time for the Congress to stop fighting old political battles and join the President in an agenda focused on providing greater economic opportunity and security for middle class families and all those working to get into the middle class,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement Tuesday.

The 27 Democrats who voted in favor of the delay were: Reps. Ron Barber, John Barrow, Ami Bera, Julia Brownley, Cheri Bustos, Tammy Duckworth, William Enyart, Tulsi Gabbard, Pete Gallego, John Garamendi, Joe Garcia, Ann Kuster, Dan Lipinski, Dan Maffei, Jim Matheson, Mike McIntyre, Patrick Murphy, Rick Nolan, Bill Owens, Scott Peters, Gary Peters, Collin Peterson, Nick Rahall, Raul Ruiz, Carol Shea-Porter, Kyrsten Sinema, and Filemon Vela.

A number of those Democrats hold seats that are top targets for Republicans in the election later this year. One of them, Rep. Gary Peters of Michigan, is in a fairly competitive race for his state’s open Senate seat.

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