Today the House is set to vote to delay certain portions of the ACA (a/k/a/ Obamacare) from being implemented. The reasoning of Speaker Boehner is that if the President can delay employers’ having to comply with the reporting requirements until 2015, then it is only fair that the individual mandate, requiring every American to purchase health insurance also be deferred until then as well.
This is exactly the wrong approach to take on two bases – one of which is a matter of legality and one of which is a matter of politics.
It is the responsibility of the Congress – not the President to enact laws. As we all know, a Democrat controlled Congress passed this law unanimously over the unanimous objection of Republicans in the House and the Senate ratified this legislation. In theory, the only role the President played was in signing the legislation to make it the law of the land.
It is still the law of the land and has not in any way been modified since its original passage. The only branch of government which has the right to alter an existing law is the Legislative branch. And if the Legislative branch enacts a law which the Judicial branch deems to violate a provision of the Constitution, it may strike down or amend that law so that it conforms to the Constitution as the Justices interpret it. But nowhere does the Constitution grant the Executive branch the authority to modify any law which is duly passed by the Legislative branch of the government.
In deferring the employer reporting requirement, President Obama has overreached his Constitutional authority and is in violation of his oath that he will (to the best of his ability), preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Arguably, this might be sufficient grounds for a Bill of Impeachment. But as we all know, that will provide us with more distractions and more melodrama and has a zero possibility of success.
But it does give Speaker Boehner an opportunity to achieve his laudable goal of killing ACA in the womb (if you’ll pardon the somewhat distasteful mixed metaphor).
Rather than attempt to defer the individual mandate, the Speaker should point out the facts of my first argument and insist that both mandates be implemented beginning in 2014 as the law is written. Unless he has ceded the responsibility of lawmaking which rightly belongs to him and his colleagues in Congress to the President and has, thus, violated his own oath of office.
It was clear to those of us who read this law that it was, to be kind, bad legislation from the beginning. That is becoming ever more apparent as the details of it unfold. The American people in the majority opposed it when it was passed, and as it comes closer to implementation that majority is swelling. There are too many requirements which may have sounded good, but the act of actually effectuating those (the employer reporting requirements is a good example), are so onerous that they simply are unachievable – at least according to the schedule which the original bill contained.
If the Speaker, the Republican party, and the majority of the American people want this bill repealed, the most efficient way to do that is to insist that it be implemented as the Democrat Congress wrote it and the Democrat President signed it.
It would be hard for those in the Administration to argue that requiring that ACA, the “jewel” in the crown of team Obama’s first term in office be put into full effect could in any way be called Republican “obstructionism.”