'Delay ObamaCare' amendments defeated in Senate committee

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday shot down two GOP amendments to officially delay both ObamaCare's employer and individual mandates. 

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The measures offered by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) are part of a new GOP offensive against the Affordable Care Act following the administration's decision to defer the employer mandate by one year.

Critics of the law are claiming momentum from the delay, arguing that it proves healthcare reform is unworkable. 

The White House says its decision responds to the needs of business and that the Affordable Care Act's implementation is on schedule. 

Democrats defeated Moran's amendments Thursday during mark-up of a Health and Human Services appropriations bill for 2014. The party-line votes pitted 16 Democrats against 14 Republicans.

The amendments would have prevented the bill's funds from being used to "implement or enforce" the employer and individual mandates.

Those rules require that larger employers provide health insurance and that most individuals carry coverage, respectively.

Republicans argue that individuals shouldn't have to carry health insurance in 2014 if larger businesses won't be required to provide coverage in that year.

Moran explained Thursday that his amendment on the employer mandate would provide an explicit legal basis for the administration's delay, which was announced last week.

The executive branch has wide discretion when issuing regulations, but often comes under heavy criticism for missing the deadlines that lawmakers set in legislation.