Republicans plan to start off the 114th Congress by reconsidering H.R.3474 – Hire More Heroes Act of 2014. This measure passed the House with only one dissenting vote last year, but wasn’t taken up by the Senate. According to the CRS summary, the bill:
Amends the Internal Revenue Code to permit an employer, for purposes of determining whether such employer is an applicable large employer and thus required to provide health care coverage to its employees under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, to exclude employees who have coverage under a health care program administered by the Department of Defense (DOD), including TRICARE, or the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The bill is sponsored by Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) who calls it a jobs bill. With a catchy title and an ostensibly worthwhile purpose, the bill is clearly intended to embarrass President Obama who will have to decide whether or not to sign a measure that chips away at Obamacare should it pass both houses of Congress.
Can H.R.3474 fairly be called a jobs bill? The premise is that employers with slightly fewer than 50 employees, needing to hire but reluctant to provide health insurance, will hire veterans if granted an exception from the obligation to provide insurance for other employees who are non-veterans. This seems unlikely to have much economic impact.
It’s a clever ruse. The GOP has been rightly criticized for indifference to veteran’s needs. This bill costs them nothing, whittles away at Obamacare, can be called a jobs bill, and purports to help veterans. This must be how the GOP plans to demonstrate that they can govern responsibly.
© William Hungerford – January 2015