By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday, Congresswoman Martha Roby questioned Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Hilda Solis in Committee Hearing on the economy stifling affect of the President’s healthcare reform legislation commonly known as Obamacare. The exchange occurred during a hearing of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. Representative Roby questioned Labor Secretary Solis about troubling regulatory actions that are affecting small businesses across the country. Sec. Solis appeared before members of the Education and the Workforce Committee to explain the Department of Labor’s budget and policy priorities for fiscal year 2013.
At the hearing Rep. Roby asked Sec. Solis to explain how the health care law could spur job creation when it was, in reality, discouraging American businesses from hiring new employees. Rep. Roby said, “If the employer cannot afford, on its bottom line, to cover those individuals (with health insurance) then they’re going to pay the penalty. But in order to get out from under the penalty they’re not going to add more jobs so that they can stay under that 50 employer threshold. That is the point, that it [the health care mandate] is not an incentive to small business creation.”
Rep. Roby said, “Madame Secretary, as the secretary you have an opinion on whether or not that threshold and that penalty will help job creators – because certainly it would not. We know that this is going to cause these small businesses to in some instances to have to close their doors.” “Different businesses have different overhead costs and when you add the cost of the health care mandate on top of that, it is going to severely hurt small business job creation throughout the country.”
Congresswoman Roby illustrated how an Alabama employer (specifically the Pizza Hut franchises based out of Heflin, AL) would be forced to close several businesses in order to comply with the imposing regulations instituted through the health care law. Sec. Solis said that she supported the healthcare law requiring employers to provide health insurance coverage to individuals that are not currently covered.
The United States Supreme Court is holding lengthy hearings over whether or not the provision in Obamacare (The Patient Affordability and Protection Act) that orders all individual citizens to buy health insurance is Constitutional or not. The Obama administration is arguing that the Commerce Clause of the Constitution gives the Federal Government the authority to order every individual or business in the country to purchase health insurance whether they want it or not. Opponents including the state of Alabama argue that Obamacare goes too far and that the Constitution’s Tenth Amendment relegates that power to the state government or to the individual.
Secretary Solis recently visited Alabama and had very harsh criticism of Alabama’s Anti-illegal immigration bill (HB 56).
Congresswoman Martha Roby represents Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District. She is seeking her second term in the United States Congress. She is opposed in the November 6th General Election by Democrat former Deputy Attorney General Therese Ford.
To read the Congresswoman’s statement in its entirety: