The political genius of John Boehner’s plan for dueling votes today on the individual and employer mandate is on full display with President Obama’s incredibly bizarre veto threat. Obama says he will not only veto the bill to delay the individual mandate but will also veto the bill to make his plan to delay the employer mandate legal. From the OMB:
H.R. 2667 is unnecessary, and H.R. 2668 would raise health insurance premiums and increase the number of uninsured Americans. Enacting this legislation would undermine key elements of the health law, facilitating further efforts to repeal a law that is already helping millions of Americans stay on their parents’ plans until age 26, millions more who are getting free preventive care that catches illness early on, and thousands of children with pre-existing conditions who are now covered.
If the President were presented with H.R. 2667 and H.R. 2668, he would veto them.
To call the bill “unnecessary” is a dangerous way to talk about the legal structure of our government. According to current law the employer mandate must be implemented next year. The executive branch unilaterally ignoring a tax provision that will cost the government billions in revenue is at least a legally questionable move. It is always preferable to have Congress sign off on such decision by amending the laws.
The President threatening to veto the law that would officially legalize a questionable action by the President is insane. It is one thing to bend the rules when there is no other possible recourse, it is entirely another to veto a plan to officially fix the problem in the constitutionally prescribed way just because it might make you look bad.
I understand this a purely cynical political move by House Republicans but this is a completely unacceptable response.