Senate GOP begins push to delay and defund ObamaCare

Senate Republicans said Wednesday that they would seek to delay and defund key provisions of ObamaCare through the appropriations process.

Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranDoug Jones to become only Dem senator with black chief of staff Congress should stand for rural America by enhancing broadband connectivity Immigrant entrepreneurs are vital to American prosperity MORE (R-Kan.) said he plans to offer several anti-ObamaCare amendments on Thursday, when the Senate Appropriations Committee is slated to take up its annual spending bill for the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department.

Moran said he will offer amendments prohibiting HHS from enforcing the healthcare law's individual mandate, which requires most taxpayers to buy insurance or pay a penalty, as well as the mandate requiring large employers to offer coverage.

“Delaying the impact of the business mandate ought to be accompanied by a delay in the individual mandate," Moran said at a news conference Wednesday.

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Democrats are unlikely to support a delay in the individual mandate, which would cripple the effort to have ObamaCare's central provisions in place by the beginning of 2014.

But forcing votes on the delay could bolster the GOP's charge that the administration is using a double standard — giving a break to big business but not to individuals.

“Rather than a partial delay for some, America needs a permanent delay for all," Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneWeek ahead: Tech giants to testify on extremist content Overnight Tech: GOP senator presses Apple over phone slowdowns | YouTube cancels projects with Logan Paul after suicide video | CEOs push for DACA fix | Bill would punish credit agencies for breaches GOP senator presses Apple on phone slowdowns MORE (R-S.D.) said.

Republicans have intensified their attacks on the healthcare law since the Obama administration delayed the employer mandate, giving businesses an extra year before they would face penalties for not providing healthcare coverage to their full-time workers.

“The law is unraveling, and one of the threads to that was the delay," Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoTrump’s infrastructure plan may slip to next month Overnight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism Trump's infrastructure team to huddle with senators MORE (R-Wyo.) said.

Republicans said the administration played politics with the delay, which pushed the employer mandate into 2015 — past the 2014 midterm elections.

“If this is such a good thing, why not let people know about it before the election, not after? … They obviously don’t think people are going to like this once they see it," Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntGOP senators eager for Romney to join them Senate GOP wary of ending Russia probes, despite pressure GOP on precipice of major end-of-year tax victory MORE (R-Mo.) said.

The House is expected to vote soon on bills that would delay the individual mandate, as well as a measure to formally delay the mandate on employers.

In addition to bills denying funding for enforcement of the individual and employer mandates, Moran said he would offer an amendment denying funding to the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a Medicare cost-control panel created under the healthcare law — "the so-called death panel," as Moran put it.

He also will propose cutting off funding for federally run insurance exchanges.