On Tuesday, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) weighed in on President Obama’s unilateral decision to not enforce the employer mandate of his signature healthcare law. The Washington Examiner reported that Lee observed that during the legislative debate on ObamaCare, its supporters claimed “that the reforms in this law had to be enacted and implemented in a comprehensive fashion.”
Lee said that if a comprehensive approach was needed to pass the law, then it is equally appropriate to demand a delay of the rest of the law, including the individual mandate which requires all Americans to purchase government-approved healthcare plans.
“It’s fundamentally unfair to adopt an employer mandate and an individual mandate and say, ‘I’m going to enforce this against hard-working individual Americans, but the government is going to look the other way when it comes to wealthy, corporate fat cats,'” Lee said.
Lee believes that Obama’s delay of the employer mandate could force Senate Democrats to defend the law – which most Americans oppose – during the upcoming congressional debate on a new continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government through the 2014 midterm elections.
If congressional Democrats want to oppose appropriations bills without additional ObamaCare funding, shut down the government, and side with the president and Big Business against the American people, then it’s their choice. But three years in, even the president himself has now admitted that ObamaCare won’t work. The only responsible choice now is to protect the country from ObamaCare’s looming disaster, start over and finally begin work on real health care reform.
The new CR would be the fourth “stop-gap” funding measure since Congress failed to adopt an annual budget in 2010. The current CR expires September 30.
A constitutional lawyer, Lee said Obama’s delay of the employer mandate is an unconstitutional revocation of the law, which must be fully implemented on January 1, 2014.
“The president wants to rewrite the law without going to Congress and he doesn’t have the power to do that,” Lee said. “It really is a unilateral amendment on the part of the president of his signature legislative accomplishment.”
Though Lee makes clear that a government shutdown is not his goal, he says, “It would be very unfortunate if Democrats were so insistent on funding the administration in its selective enforcement of this law, which the administration has admitted it isn’t prepared to implement and enforce. So, they shouldn’t do that and it’s a shame on them if they do.”
Lee also had some words of encouragement for Republicans who are anxious about the prospect of a government shutdown.
“Our current CR expires at the end of September, and, so, every Republican is going to have a chance to weigh in on whether or not they’re okay with ObamaCare – whether or not they’re willing to fund it,” Lee explained. “I think any Republican who agrees to fund ObamaCare this time around is going to have a hard time explaining that to voters.”