GOP, Dems spar over health law's economic effect

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"In today's sluggish economy ... the federal government should be encouraging businesses to grow," Pitts said. "As the result of ObamaCare, however, we are doing exactly the opposite."

Pitts and his GOP colleagues predicted that the law would cause employers not to hire new workers, to move full-time employees to a part-time schedule and to drop coverage altogether.

These predictions were partially affirmed by a witness from the National Restaurant Association, Tom Boucher, who said he had chosen not to pursue new business because of the law.

But Rep. Frank Pallone (N.J.), the panel's top Democrat, cited figures showing that the U.S. restaurant industry hiring is on the rise overall, contradicting that point.

Pallone said GOP attempts to repeal the law's mandate that medium to large firms offer health insurance are "misguided."

"The latest job numbers showing that over six million private-sector jobs have been created since we passed the Affordable Care Act," he said.

"I believe that most employers want to be part of the solution, and once they begin to comply, they will realize the overall advantages of offering health insurance."