You know Obamacare’s a mess when the same supporters who voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and its components, back in 2009 and 2010, are now voting to put off actually enacting the thing.
Last week’s vote to delay until next year a mandate requiring employers of 50 or more to offer insurance coverage, as well as a vote to delay the mandate that compels individuals to purchase insurance, marked one of the most bipartisan things the Republican-led House of Representatives has done in a while.
The employer mandate passed on a 264-161 vote; the individual mandate by a 251-174 margin.
That means Democrats are voting against Obamacare.
An analysis in The Hill last week contrasted House Democrats’ recent, stridently partisan voting pattern with that of last Wednesday’s Obamacare “mandate” votes.
Vulnerable House Democrats laid low Thursday after voting to delay two key ObamaCare mandates over a White House veto threat.
The hush from centrist Dems came after a considerable number cast ballots alongside Republicans on Wednesday for bills designed to embarrass the Obama administration.
The next day, many of the defectors failed to respond to requests for comment on the votes. Some avoided reporters, while several others declined to speak through spokesmen.
The divisions over healthcare strongly contrasted with a recent pattern of unified votes by House Democrats.
Not a single Democrat voted last week for a stripped down Republican farm bill, and only four voted in May to tie student loan rates to the financial markets.
But ObamaCare’s employer and individual mandates proved a different story, highlighting anxiety over the divisive law as lawmakers from swing districts await 2014.
In the long run, the House vote on Obamacare won’t matter. President Barack Obama has said he’ll veto the bills, and the Senate isn’t going to let them make it that far anyway. And we’ve all seen this movie before. Taken together, last week’s votes marked the GOP majority’s 38th attempt at repealing, defunding or stripping the PPACA since January 2011.
But with Obama off to an abysmal start in his second Presidential term and his signature accomplishment growing more unpopular as the ACA’s October deadline nears, it’s telling that 35 House Democrats voted to delay the employer mandate, while 22 did the same concerning the start date for mandatory individual coverage.
Fourteen of the Democrats who voted to delay both were Congressional freshmen. But the rest were longtime Obamacare supporters who’ve heard an earful from their constituents back home and need to save a little face before next year’s midterm elections.