On a near-party-line vote, the House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a resolution authorizing the House leadership to sue President Barack Obama for regulatory action taken last year that delayed the health care reform law's employer mandate by one year.
That provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires employers with at least 50 full-time employees to offer coverage or be hit with a stiff fine.
“Rather than faithfully execute the law as the constitution requires, I believe that the president has selectively enforced the law in some instances, ignored the law in other instances, and in a few cases unilaterally attempted to change the law altogether,” Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, said during the floor debate on the proposal.
But Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., said the lawsuit would be a “monumental waste of time and money.”
The resolution was approved on a 225-201 vote.
At the time the delay was announced, the administration said more time was needed to simplify a requirement under which employers are to report health plan enrollment information to the government. The Internal Revenue Service last week released a draft of that reporting form.
The delay to 2015 from 2014 in the employer mandate — under which employers are required to offer coverage or be hit with a $2,000 per-full-time-employee penalty — was followed by a second delay announced earlier this year.
Under the second delay, employers with between 50 and 99 employees do not have to comply with the mandate until 2016. In addition, the requirement that coverage be offered to at least 95% of full-time employees will not kick in until 2016, with a 70% coverage offer requirement applying in 2015.