Democrats hit back, weakly, with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's "Good for America" and Rep. Gregory Meeks' "What America Needs." And then the White House stepped in with a killer line: "It's. The. Law." The tweet was accompanied by a photo of the president's signature on the Affordable Care Act, dated March 23, 2010.
Case closed: What part of "It's. The. Law." don't you understand? Just to add emphasis, in early June President Obama dismissed concerns that the national health care startup was not going well. "This is the way the law was designed to work," he told an audience in California. "Since everyone's saying how it's not going to happen, I think it's important for us to recognize and acknowledge that this is working the way it's supposed to."
Now, however, it appears the administration's bravado was all for show. At the same time Obama was expressing great confidence, White House officials were secretly meeting with representatives of big business to discuss ways to postpone enforcement of parts of the new law. And on Tuesday the White House announced that the employer mandate -- sometimes described as a "crucial" element of Obamacare -- will be delayed to 2015 from its scheduled start on Jan. 1, 2014.
Treasury Department official Mark Mazur called the delay "transition relief." "We have heard concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively," Mazur wrote late Tuesday. "We have listened to your feedback. And we are taking action."
The move stunned Republicans in Congress, who immediately asked: Whose feedback? What businesses were meeting with the White House? What deals did they make?
"These communications and the decision-making process related to the delay... have not been disclosed publicly," wrote House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Fred Upton in a letter to the Treasury Department and the Department of Health and Human Services. Along with 13 other Republican committee members, Upton demanded the administration reveal which businesses and which government officials were involved in the decision.