About That Individual Mandate Giveaway...

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 22 2011 11:39 AM

About That Individual Mandate Giveaway...

When it broke last night, Washington broke into one loud cry of "huh?" According to the New York Times and Fox News, one of the chits in a possible "grand bargain" to raise the debt limit was a trigger on balancing the budget, with "the potential penalty for inaction to include repeal of the Obama health care law’s mandate that all individuals purchase health insurance after 2014."

Is this a great deal for Republicans? It sounds like it on first listen. But Republicans on the Hill are wholly disinterested in the idea.

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"I think that's way too complex between now and the deadline," said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., a deputy whip. "Look, this is like a crowd from Missouri -- they're show me. If you get something deep and detailed without time to go through it, they're not going to stampede to support it. And I don't think they should."

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Ca., has used his position in the Oversight committee to pick apart the Affordable Care Act. Even he wasn't interested.

"I'm not much for all these other long, crazy deals," said Issa. "These are the president's ideas for kicking the can past the next election."

Issa's current preference for a break-the-glass plan would be a short-term increase in the debt ceiling with no conditions -- something to stave off reckoning through September, into October, to give Washington time to craft a long-term deal.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.