Delayed Ratification? Obama Shelves Mandate -- for Now
Back in May, House Republicans started a Twitter contest to see who could describe ObamaCare in three words. The White House silenced everyone by tweeting: "It's. The. Law." Well, somebody ought to remind the administration of that, as the President's team announced at the beginning of a holiday week that it was putting the brakes on another key component of his signature policy.
With Congress already home firing up the barbeque, the two agencies most central to ObamaCare's implementation dropped the bombshell that the President was pushing off the employer mandate until 2015. One of the most controversial parts of the health care law, this mandate slaps businesses with 50 or more employees with a $2,000 fine for every full-time employee that it doesn't insure with a government-approved plan.
Up until last Tuesday, companies were bracing themselves for the penalties, which were set to kick in on January 1. In fact, a lot of prominent chains like Papa John's, Olive Garden, Five Guys, and Subway had already warned customers that they would have to raise prices to comply. Others, like Regal Cinemas, are paring back workers' hours -- or worse, letting them go altogether. The news that the President would be postponing the pain, in a statement shoved out the door two days from a long weekend, stunned everyone.
As Byron York points out in a new column for the Washington Examiner, President Obama had just finished explaining how swimmingly ObamaCare's implementation was going. Now we know that at that same time, "White House officials were secretly meeting with representatives of big business to discuss ways to [delay] enforcement of parts of the new law." And what a surprise! The administration is suspending the fines until after the 2014 elections when the backlash would be most keenly felt. "It's better to do this right than fast," insisted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) -- which, ironically, is the approach most voters wish Congress had taken in passing the policy.
Now, the White House is finally getting around to reading the law it helped write, and every move to prolong its effects is another confirmation that ObamaCare is a ticking time bomb. And apparently, this President will do whatever it takes to get out of office before it explodes. For now, that means the man who has excelled at ignoring laws will agree to ignore his own! "This selective enforcement of laws has become an administration habit. From immigration to easing welfare reform's work requirement... the Obama administration routinely suspends enforcement of or unilaterally rewrites via regulation the laws it dislikes. Now," the Wall Street Journal fumes, "it is doing it again on health care, without any consultation from, much less the approval of, Congress."
Meanwhile, not every CEO was celebrating their independence from the employer mandate over the July 4th holiday. As House Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) points out, "a one-year delay does nothing to fix the law's fundamental flaws." His committee, House Energy and Commerce, is tired of being bypassed by a lawless White House and is launching an investigation into what's really driving the decision-making process. In two separate letters, members ask the administration to produce documents on the White House's directive to postpone the mandate. Upton's colleague, Rep. Darrel Issa (R-Calif.), is also outraged. His Oversight and Government Reform Committee is questioning whether the President even "has the authority to do this without Congress." On Wednesday, theHouse Ways and Means Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the mandate's suspension and whether the agencies had the power to shelve the rule without Congress's sign-off.
In the meantime, conservatives everywhere are convinced that the only way to protect Americafrom ObamaCare is to delay it permanently. Join House leaders in a new call to repeal and replace the Left's "train wreck!"
Loving Life in Austin
The Texas Senate is back in session today, fulfilling a promise by Governor Rick Perry (R) to "get this done." "This" is the state's bill to protect women and children with a law to limit abortions after 20 weeks (when babies feel pain). The measure, which was a sure thing until protestors shouted down conservatives and ran out the clock, will be debated in a marathon session that kicked off this morning.
For pro-life leaders, it's been a difficult few weeks. Supporters of the bill, including its sponsor, Texas Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, have been threatened, harassed, wished dead, and chased down statehouse hallways. "Never in the history of Texas have [we] seen that type of mob rule," said Gov. Perry. But he and other pro-lifers aren't about to let it derail a bill that the state's voters overwhelmingly back. Despite the strong feelings on both sides, the Governor is standing his ground. "Texas is a place where we defend life," he told reporters.
Tonight, a rally on the Capitol steps hopes to make that point, as pro-lifers -- including FRC Action's Josh Duggar -- gather to rally the troops. If you're in the Austin area, stop by and show your support on the South Steps this evening at 7:00 p.m.(CT)!
A Black Eye for Seattle 'Pride' Event
The ugly side of "tolerance" was on full display last weekend in Seattle when a mob at the city's "gay pride" event ganged up on two Christian street preachers and brutally attacked them. One of the men, who was holding a sign that read "Jesus Saves from Sin" and "Repent or Else," was approached by a group of women who tried to rip the poster out of his hands. When they couldn't, a man dragged one of the preachers to the ground and began beating and kicking him while some in the crowd cheered. His friend, who was holding a Bible and wearing a shirt that said, "Trust Jesus," was punched in the back of the head when he tried to help.
The entire confrontation was caught on video and posted to YouTube by an attendee who said that he disagreed with the street preachers but believe they have "a constitutional right to be in public and preach." As FRC knows all too well, this isn't the first time homosexual activists have used violence to try to silence and intimidate Christians. Apart from the August 15 shooting in our lobby, marriage supporters across the country have been assaulted, threatened, and vandalized. The other side has even resorted to death threats for children! It's time for Americans to wake up and realize the Left's unwillingness to practice the very "tolerance" they preach -- before more people get hurt.
** Over the weekend, FRC's Ken Klukowski had the chance to join pollster Scott Rasmussen on his new television show to talk about the latest attacks on religious liberty. Click below to watch.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.