U.S. House Republicans commit to delay of Obamacare tax provision

Reuters

By David Lawder

WASHINGTON, Oct 23 (Reuters) - Congressional Republicanleaders said on Wednesday they were committed to delaying a taxpenalty provision in the health care law and would use oversightpowers to hold President Barack Obama's administration"accountable" for problems with its launch.

Republican leaders have complained about a lack oftransparency surrounding problems with the launch of thegovernment run health care insurance exchanges on Oct. 1, sayingthat House Democrats were briefed by administration officials,but Republicans were not.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said on Wednesday thatRepublicans would seek to delay a requirement of the 2010Affordable Care Act, known as "Obamacare," that all Americansobtain health insurance or face a tax penalty starting next year- at least until questions over the rollout of theHealthcare.gov website and detrimental effects of the law can becleared up.

"The rollout of Obamacare is nothing short of a debacle, andthe American people are now fearful of their healthcare," Cantortold reporters after a meeting with House Republicans. "With somany unanswered questions and the problems arising around thisrollout, it doesn't make any sense to impose this one percentmandate tax on the American people."

Republicans have opposed the healthcare law, Obama'ssignature domestic policy achievement, on grounds that it is anunwarranted expansion of the federal government.

House Speaker John Boehner said that Republicans would usetheir oversight powers to conduct hearings into problems withthe main federal insurance exchange website, as well as otherproblems with the law, including reports that it is causingemployers to drop their own health care plans.

"Whether it's Obamacare or issues with the Department ofDefense, It's our job to hold them accountable. And when itcomes to Obamacare, there's a lot to be held accountable,"Boehner said.

He said the party would continue to press for governmentspending cuts, despite House Republicans' failure to haltfunding for Obamacare in a fight this month over a governmentshutdown and the federal debt limit.

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