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Column - Administration Delays Obamacare Employer Mandate

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Facing growing protests from America's small businesses over burdensome requirements set to take effect in 2014, the Obama administration has announced a one-year delay in Obamacare's controversial mandate that all but the smallest businesses provide health insurance coverage to their employees or face a penalty. Unfortunately, individuals get no such reprieve.

Last Tuesday, the White House said it would give businesses with over 50 full-time employees until January 2015 to comply with Obamacare's new health insurance mandate or face a $2000 penalty for each employee not covered. The Obama administration said the one-year delay is necessary to allow businesses sufficient time to meet the health care law's many requirements. Meanwhile, Obamacare's individual mandate for Americans who are not currently covered by a health insurance plan will still take effect in January of 2014.

The administration's decision to partially step on the brakes comes after a steady stream of business complaints. In some cases, businesses and even local governments across the country have warned they may have to cut back the number of full time employees as a result of the health care law's costs.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who presided over the passage of Obamacare in 2010, once admitted that Congress had to pass it so that the American people would know what's in it. Three years later as the public finally sees the negative impact the health care law will have on their insurance premiums and choice of plans, there is very little rejoicing. Rising public dissatisfaction over Obamacare was reflected in a June Gallup poll which recorded 52 percent of Americans disapproving of the president's signature health care law, up from 45 percent last fall.

Since the passage of Obamacare, the administration has exempted a long list of businesses and groups from its mandates, and even the new law's supporters have described the health care law's implementation as a "train wreck."

On May 16, I joined the House in voting to repeal Obamacare, and I believe the best medicine for America is to scrap the president's unpopular and unworkable health care law and pass market-based health care reforms. It's time to exempt all of America from Obamacare.

Austal Celebrates USS Montgomery:

I recently joined Mary Sessions, wife of Senator Jeff Sessions, and local officials at Austal USA to witness the authentication of the keel for the newest Independence Class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS-8), the future USS Montgomery.

The USS Montgomery, which honors Alabama's capital city, will be the fourth LCS built at Austal's world-class aluminum shipyard in Mobile. Austal has a $3.5 billion contract to produce up to ten LCS for the Navy, of which six are already funded.

Austal isn't only making waves with its high-tech LCS design; it also captured the Navy's attention with its Joint High Speed Vessel or JHSV. In 2008, Austal was selected as prime contractor to design and build the first Joint High Speed Vessel, with options for nine additional ships between FY09 and FY13. All nine options have been exercised, providing Austal with ten JHSV construction contracts worth a total $1.6 billion.

Austal has restored Mobile's proud legacy as a military ship building city going back to World War II. More than 70 years ago, life-saving "Liberty" ships -- vital to winning the war for the Allies -- were assembled along the Mobile River. Today, the future workhorse of the Navy -- the Littoral Combat Ship -- and the equally indispensable, Joint High Speed Vessel, are both being produced in our back yard.

During the same week Austal celebrated the construction of the future USS Montgomery, my wife, Janée, was in Marinette, Wisconsin, authenticating the keel of another LCS, the future USS Little Rock (LCS-9). Named for the guided missile cruiser that Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, once served on, LCS-9 is being built by Lockheed Martin. Both Austal and Lockheed Martin hold separate contracts to build different versions of the LCS -- each offering special capabilities for our Navy.

With the support and confidence of Navy leadership, the LCS program is pushing ahead in the shipyards, in the halls of Congress and at sea. On June 14th, the House overwhelmingly passed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 (NDAA), which authorizes $1.8 billion for an additional four LCS (two of which will be built in Mobile and two in Wisconsin). The House Defense Appropriations Act, which also provides full funding to continue LCS construction, is expected to come before the full House for a vote sometime this summer.

My staff and I work for you. If I can ever be of service, please do not hesitate to call my office toll free at 1-800-288-8721.


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