U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann and several House Republican colleagues have discussed suing President Obama for not consulting Congress before he decided to end the cancellation of health care policies under the Affordable Care Act.
After Obama's violated his promise that the health care law would allow people to keep their insurance plans if they liked them, he decided to allow companies, for one year, to offer policies that don’t meet the health care law's standards.
Bachmann, a leading opponent of the health care law, believes that Obama’s decision violated the Constitution's separation of powers doctrine.
“Congresswoman Bachmann is deeply concerned about President Obama’s pattern of bypassing Congress and issuing unconstitutional executive decrees, and she and some of her colleagues have had discussions about the best recourse to put a stop to his unconstitutional actions,” said Bachmann spokesman Dan Kotman.
Kotman did not discuss a timeline for the possible legal action.
Politico first reported the discussions, which Bachmann revealed Tuesday during an event hosted by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative-leaning Washington, D.C.-based think tank.
Three Democratic Minnesota U.S. House members — Rick Nolan, Collin Peterson and Tim Walz — bucked their party leaders on Friday and backed a Republican bill that would allow insurers to keep selling policies that do not comply with the Affordable Care Act.
The legislation would grant a reprieve to Americans, including an estimated 140,000 in Minnesota, who would lose their current insurance policies despite a promise from President Obama that his health care law wouldn’t strip away their preferred coverage.
Democrats in moderate districts faced a tough choice with their votes: back legislation that would allow constituents to keep existing insurance plans or rally behind Obama’s signature health care policy.
The bill passed the House 261 to 157. Nearly all 39 Democratic supporters hail from districts where voters favored Republican Mitt Romney or where Obama won by a slim margin in the 2012 presidential election.
Admitting that his administration botched the health care rollout, Obama said Thursday that health insurance companies can extend canceled policies by one year even if they don’t meet the health law’s requirements. The president shouldered the blame for the problems.
Republicans argued Friday’s bill, the Keep Your Health Care Plan Act, would uphold Obama’s promise to let people keep their current health insurance plans. Many Democrats saw the Republican bill as an effort to undermine the Affordable Care Act by allowing insurers to continue selling plans that aren’t compliant with the law.
Democratic Party leaders hoped that Obama’s proposed fix would prevent rank-and-file members from crossing the aisle in support of the GOP bill.
But Republicans ratcheted up the pressure as millions of Americans received notice that they won’t be able to keep their preferred plans. The National Republican Congressional Committee, the campaign arm of the House Republicans, targeted Walz and other Democrats in potential swing districts who voted for the law in 2010. The lone Minnesota Democrat to vote against the Affordable Care Act when it passed in 2010, Peterson had already announced plans to support the Republican bill.
Minnesota’s House Republicans — Michele Bachmann, John Kline and Erik Paulsen — voted with their party on the legislation. Democratic Reps. Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum opposed the bill.
The bill may have political ramifications but it has likely hit a legislative dead end. The White House issued a veto threat Thursday.
While President Obama was tweaking the Affordable Care Act Thursday to extend expiring insurance policies for another year, U.S. Rep. John Kline was holding a hearing in his Education and Workforce Committee to explore another potential pitfall of the law.
In a new challenge to the health care overhaul, the Minnesota Republican has been highlighting the financial burden that it could impose on school districts and colleges that have to comply with the federal mandate to provide coverage for their employees.
Though the mandate has been pushed back a year, educators and school district officials from around the nation warned of the unintended budget consequences of covering part-time and semi-part workers such as teaching aides, adjunct instructors, cooks, bus drivers and others who work more than 30 hours a week.
A recent analysis of Minnesota Education Department data by the conservative-leaning Watchdog Minnesota found that 22,800 non-licensed school employees work between 30 and 39 hours a week, making them eligible for required benefits under the new health law.
State education officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Critics of the law warn that the 30-hour threshold will force schools, just like other employers, to limit hours, cut jobs, or incur greater costs.
While some educators have asked that the coverage threshold be raised to 40 hours, Democrats on the committee argued that the change would hurt part-time workers who will otherwise be insured.
Kline argues that the law’s employer mandate could hurt the educational system at all levels. “Americans continue to express their concerns about Obamacare and the troubling impact it is having on their lives,” Kline said in the lead-up to the hearing. “Our nation’s schools are not immune to the consequences of this law.”
Three years early, Gov. Mark Dayton is taking a stand for his 2016 presidential pick.
The DFL governor joined Ready for Hillary, the political action committee supporting Democrat Hillary Clinton's potential run for president, the group said Thursday and Dayton's staff confirmed.
"Everyday, Minnesotans from all over our state and from all walks of life tell me that they want to see Hillary Clinton run for president in 2016," Dayton said in a release. "Hillary Clinton is the most qualified person to be the next president of the United States."
The governor has long been a Clinton fan. Back when Clinton was battling in Iowa in 2008, Dayton has said one of the Clintons would go to speak to any large group of Iowans but if two or three were gathered Dayton would go to sing Hillary Clinton's praises.
There is a lot of time and challenge between now and the 2016 election. Dayton, in his first term, first has his own race to run and win next year. Recent polling found that fewer than half of Minnesotans approve of the job he is doing.
Despite that, Dayton said: "I am proud to join the national movement that Ready for Hillary is leading to show her that, if she runs, she will have a huge grassroots army behind her."
Dayton served in the U.S. Senate with Clinton and he also helped fundraise for her presidential campaign in Minnesota..
The governor has a history of picking Hillary Clinton for early backing. As early as 2005, he introduced her as "the next great president of the United States of America." Three years later she lost her presidential bid to now president Barack Obama, who handily won Minnesota's presidential caucus that year.
U.S. Sen. Al Franken was among the Senate Democrats who met with President Obama and Vice President Biden on Wednesday to talk about the federal health care overhaul and “existing challenges with implementation of the Affordable Care Act," according to the White House.
Franken said he expressed his displeasure at the meeting.
“I, along with the Senators at the meeting, expressed frustration with the performance of the federal website," he said in a statement released from his office.
"I also made it clear that, while MNsure.org appears to be running more smoothly than the federal website, I want to make certain that the pieces of the federal system that interface with MNsure are working as well as possible," said Franken, who was among 16 senators who met with Obama.
Although Franken has been a supporter of ObamaCare, according to one report, he was “visibly agitated” last month when meeting with Obama’s chief of staff to discuss the problem with the roll out.
On Wednesday he said: "I will continue to hold the Administration accountable as it fixes the federal site."
According to the White House, during the meeting:
"The President emphasized that he shared the Senators’ commitment to ensuring that Americans who want to enroll in health insurance through the Marketplaces are able to do so in time for insurance coverage to start as early as January 1st, and throughout the open enrollment period which goes through March 31. He also discussed ongoing efforts to ramp up communication and education outreach to consumers who have received or might receive letters about how their individual market plans might be affected. In addition, the President also reiterated that the Administration is working to protect the privacy and security of consumers and to ensure that online Marketplace applications are protected by stringent security standards, with ongoing testing to help safeguard personal information."
Star Tribune reporter Kevin Diaz contributed to this report.