Rep. Eric Cantor: ObamaCare needs a 'permanent delay'

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," July 9, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R-OHIO, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Today we sent letters to the president asking him to justify a delay in the employer mandate, while leaving in place the mandate on individuals and families. Because if businesses can get relief from ObamaCare, the rest of America ought to be able to get relief as well.


SEAN HANNITY, HOST: That was House Speaker John Boehner from earlier today. He along with the GOP leadership are demanding answers from the White House after the administration announced that they would delay a key part of ObamaCare, which is the employer mandate, until 2015.

My question is, what makes the president believe that he has the power to decide which laws to enforce and which ones he wants to let slide?

Now, an actual constitutional law professor -- unlike our president -- summed this up best in an article that he wrote for the Wall Street Journal. Quote, "Like King James II, the president decides not to enforce laws that he doesn't like. That is an abuse of power." He goes on to explain how, "Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution states that the president 'shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.' This is a duty, not a discretionary power. While the president does have substantial discretion about how to enforce the law, he has no discretion about whether to do so."

Now, why is this important to you? First, the administration is clearly overextending its reach by delaying the employee mandate. Now, does the president think he's above the law?

Now second, the decision was politically timed. Now, I don't think it's a coincidence that the mandate will not kick in until after the midterm elections.

And third, what does it say about ObamaCare as a whole? Can this delay help push lawmakers maybe to repeal it?

Joining me now with reaction, House Majority Leader, that's Eric Cantor. Sir, welcome back.


HANNITY: So, does the president have the authority to just say, I'm not going to enforce the law?

CANTOR: Well, the president's decision last week right before the Fourth of July was extraordinary on many counts, and I think the first as you say, Sean, it's extraordinary because it's a continuation in what we have begun to call the imperial presidency. It is the selective enforcement of the law. And there is a real question as to where the authority comes from, how is it that he brings himself to decide to enforce one provision and not the other? As you rightfully suggested, this is a real concern of trust on the part of this president. And how can the American people trust the White House to enforce the laws Congress passes when they see things like this going on?

Secondly, you asked a question, what does this mean for ObamaCare itself? Well, we've been saying as you have, Sean -- I want to thank you for your leadership on this -- that ObamaCare not only is it not ready for prime time now, it's never going to be ready for prime time. We shouldn't be just delaying it now. We need a permanent delay.

And so what does this mean? I believe strongly now, Sean. The White House has had to admit this employer mandate just doesn't work, nor does the other parts of the law.

But the other extraordinary piece of this, Sean, is that here we have the white house and this president coming down on the side of big business. But what about the rest of us? What about the rest of the American people left out in the cold, left to be hanging with these mandates, to apply to individuals?

Again, not a fair and just outcome, and I hope that we can take it to this White House and act on this in Congress to say everyone should be treated the same. It is time to remove the mandate for everyone, not just the employers.

HANNITY: By the way, this is a little bipartisan. I don't think you often agree with Senator Tom Harkin, but he said the following, he says, "This was the law. How can they change the law?" So, you're not the only one.

Do you think, and maybe I'm a little cynical in my old age, Congressman, do you think this was politically timed?

CANTOR: Well, you know, it's interesting, Sean. Because you indicate, yes that the employer mandate delay will push off the implementation of that mandate until after next year's election. But again, you never know given the selective enforcement that now seems to be a pattern with this, with the IRS, with other things. But if the same formula's in place October 1 next year will be the signup date for the exchanges again, at which time all of this will then be elevated. Thirty days before the election. So it may be that the administration didn't quite accomplish what it may have hoped to accomplish politically, by saying delaying for a year in that employer mandate.

HANNITY: What are the options -- you're in the Republican leadership. What options do you have -- there have been many votes that you have had to, I guess, overturn ObamaCare. It didn't go anywhere. Would you use the option of defunding ObamaCare because that is in your authority?

CANTOR: Right, and we have continued, when we -- to do just that, we've continued to say under the sequester that we're operating on, that the president says, you know, he wants to do something about it, but never has come forward with any kind of other suggested reforms in the entitlement areas. But when they ask for more money for ObamaCare's implementation, we said no. We said no, we don't feel that this law is the right direction to go in. Nor do we feel this administration should have the ability to take taxpayer dollars to go and sell and market this bill.

But I think one of the options going forward, Sean, is to take a look at what this White House has done and say, you know what? If it's fair for big business to be exempted from this mandate, we ought to say the same for individuals. We ought to go ahead and delay the individual mandate. And as you know, that individual mandate is the crux of ObamaCare, without the individual mandate, the whole law collapses.

And again, I believe that the decision that was made by this administration last week is a game changer because it will and has now demonstrated cracks in the coalition behind this law. And I think you're going to see bipartisan support to go in and try to come down on the side of the people, not just business on this mandate issue.

HANNITY: We're going to watch very closely, because I agree with you and your interpretation of the law. The president doesn't have the option to just change it because he decides to.

The biggest issue on conservatives mind as you know, Congressman, is what the House will do on immigration. The Washington Post had an article suggesting that if the House passes a border security bill and it goes to conference, that the plan would be to get Democrats and maybe about 20 Republicans to pass a Senate like version. Would you insist that the Hastert Rule apply to any bill that comes out of conference?

CANTOR: Yes, I absolutely would. I think the speaker of the House has said the same that he would as well, that is not going to happen. As we proceed into the discussions about the immigration issues, there's one thing all of us agree on, I think for the most part, and that is, we don't support the Senate bill.

You know, I think it's interesting, Sean, if you ask the senators who voted on that bill, how many of them have really read the bill, how many of them really know what it does. And I think one of the most defensive parts of the bill is the actual border security piece, because in the House, we don't want to just say, well throw money at it, and at some point you'll get it done. I think the much more deliberate approach is called for, that we have to go about trying to address a real distrust on the part of the American people.

Again, go back to the discussion we just had on ObamaCare. If the President can selectively enforce the provision under ObamaCare, what's to say that he can't selectively enforce or not enforce the provision on border security and the immigration package?

We need to go and make sure that there are definite matrixes if you will of accountability, how we can ensure that the border is secure, and that the law is being enforced. Because at the end of the day, when you look at it, how many other countries really are there where people are knocking down the doors to get in? We are for a reason, and that's because we're a country of laws, and it ought to be applied evenly and fairly to all.

HANNITY: All right. Congressman, I appreciate you being with us.

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