January 7, 2015

House To Vote Thursday On Legislation Defining Full-Time Work Week

Bloomberg News  (1/7, Wayne) reports that the House will continue its campaign against the Affordable Care Act this Thursday, with a vote on a measure to change the law’s definition of a full-time work week from 30 hours to 40 hours. Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) said Tuesday on Fox News that the current threshold of 30 hours “hurt people’s take-home pay” because some employers have cut employee hours to avoid the requirement. Critics of the proposal warn that raising the threshold could put even more people at risk. Sens. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Susan Collins (R-ME) are expected to introduce a similar bill on Wednesday.

Reuters  (1/7, Morgan) reports that White House officials said President Obama would probably threaten to veto the bill if it passes, as does the Wall Street Journal  (1/7, Tau, Subscription Publication).

The Hill  (1/7, Ferris, Sink) reports White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday that the President would veto such a measure, because it “would actually do a lot of harm, not just to the Affordable Care Act but to a substantial number of workers across the country” who could find their hours cut. Earnest noted that some Republicans do not support the bill, saying, “Ironically, a couple of conservative thinkers happen to think we’re right.” MSNBC  (1/7, Khimm), Modern Healthcare  (1/6, Demko, Subscription Publication), and the Daily Caller  (1/6, Hurtubise) also report.

The Washington Times  (1/7, Howell) reports Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) “said the GOP has made a mistake by failing to coalesce around an alternative to Obamacare,” while Rep. James P. McGovern (D-MA) criticized the “lousy” decision to begin the session this way: “If you really want to begin on a note where we’re going to try to develop consensus and work together, I would have begun with some less controversial items than the ones they’ve lined up.” Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said his party needed to have an alternative ready in case the Supreme Court “justices strike down the subsidies and knock the law off-kilter.”

The Washington Post  (1/6, Millman) reports in its “Wonkblog” that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the GOP effort to redefine the full-time work week could result in 1 million people losing “their employer-sponsored insurance, causing between 500,000 and 1 million people to turn to public insurance options, such as Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the ACA health insurance exchanges.” The CBO determined that fewer employer-mandate fines “would increase the deficit by about $45.7 billion over a 10-year period.”


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