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Whatever happened to last year's breakout stars?
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans, politically emboldened by President Barack Obama’s delay of a key requirement of his health care law, are taking another run at scrapping his signature domestic policy.
The House has scheduled votes Wednesday to delay the law’s individual and employer mandates, the 38th time the GOP majority has tried to eliminate, defund or scale back the program since Republicans took control of the House in January 2011.
The votes are a chance to score political points and highlight public skepticism over the law. The legislation is going nowhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate and the administration said emphatically Tuesday the president would veto the measures.
The goal of the health care law was to provide coverage to nearly 50 million Americans without health insurance in a massive overhaul of the current system. In a surprise move earlier this month, the Obama administration announced a one-year delay in requiring businesses with 50 or more employees to provide health coverage for their workers or pay a penalty.
Republicans seized on that decision as new evidence that the law is unworkable and should be repealed. The GOP also accused a Democratic president of favoring businesses over average Americans, who will still be required to carry health insurance starting next Jan. 1 or risk fines.
In advance of the votes, Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, stood on the House floor Tuesday and ridiculed Democratic comments that the law has been “wonderful” for the country.
“The law isn’t wonderful, it’s a train wreck. You know it. I know it. And the American people know it. Even the president knows it. That’s why he proposed delaying his mandate on employers,” Boehner said. “But it’s unfair to protect big businesses without giving the same relief to American families and small businesses.”
The House will vote on two bills: one by Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., to implement the president’s one-year delay in the employer mandate, and another by Rep. Todd Young, R-Ind., to delay the individual mandate.
The White House said in a statement vowing a veto that “it’s time for the Congress to stop fighting old political battles and join the president” in boosting the economy and helping the middle class.
Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, defended the administration’s decision to delay the employer mandate, arguing it only affects a small number of businesses while ensuring that those affected have the necessary information. He said the individual mandate is more straightforward in its implementation.
“I’m not surprised the Republicans continue to want to repeal the Affordable Care Act because that has been their position all along, from the very beginning,” Hoyer told reporters Tuesday. “They have no alternative. … Republicans have no alternatives and as a result I think this is just more of the same in terms of their opposition. Are they going to make some political hay out of it. They are going to try.”
In the days leading up to the vote, the National Republican Congressional Committee, which helps elect GOP candidates, has issued a flurry of news releases calling on Democratic incumbents to vote for a delay in the individual mandate and posing the question “Big business got a break from Obamacare, but what about families?”
“It was a shocking admission of defeat when the Obama administration delayed the disastrous law’s employer mandate,” the NRCC said in one release directed at Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn. “Though big business may be delayed from the onerous effects of Obamacare, middle-class families across Connecticut won’t.”
Stepping up the pressure, the House Ways and Means Committee will be holding a hearing on the administration’s delay of the employer mandate, questioning J. Mark Iwry, a Treasury Department official and top adviser on health policy.
Under the health law, companies with 50 or more workers must provide affordable coverage to their full-time employees or risk a series of escalating tax penalties if just one worker ends up getting government-subsidized insurance. Originally, that requirement was supposed to take effect Jan. 1. It will now be delayed to 2015.
Associated Press writer Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar contributed to this report.
The star of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” charmed practically everyone at the Oscars, where she was the youngest best actress nominee ever; she went on to film a remake of “Annie” opposite Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz.
Carly Rae Jepsen
Jepsen, who had 2012’s song of the summer with “Call Me Maybe,” released the fifth and final single from her debut album in January 2013. She toured the U.S. in mid-2013 -- just as Daft Punk and Robin Thicke battled to succeed her as icons of the summer.
Honey Boo Boo
2012’s biggest reality star, the young pageant contestant Alana Thompson, had a quieter time this year, with a second season whose ratings were strong but whose buzz was a bit muted. America was, by now, accustomed to young Thompson, and outraged or scandalized reactions were reserved for other TLC programming, like “The Man With the 132-Pound Scrotum.”
Ocean missed out on the top Grammys for which he was nominated in early 2013; he bounced back quickly with featured appearances on albums by Kanye West, Jay Z and Beyoncé, and is at work on a new album. Things are looking up!
The “21 Jump Street” and “Magic Mike” star had a marginally less charmed 2013, with “White House Down” failing to connect with moviegoers and “Foxcatcher” delayed until next year. It may get worse before it gets better: His big 2014 sci-fi flick, “Jupiter Ascending,” looks … well, a little weird!
With their third album in 21 months hitting No. 1 immediately upon its fall 2013 release, the boy band that broke into America in 2012 would seem to be here to stay for a while. Still, they looked a bit nervous in their reaction shots during the Video Music Awards’ ‘N Sync reunion; maybe not this year, maybe not next, but eventually, the Justin of One Direction is going to break out. For now, though, things look good!
Lana Del Rey
The famously uncomfortable “Saturday Night Live” musical guest overcame endless mockery from 2012 to land her first top-10 hit in the summer of 2013 -- a remix of a year-old song, “Summertime Sadness.” As the co-writer of “Young and Beautiful,” the love theme from “The Great Gatsby,” Del Rey is such a front-runner for the best original song Oscar (last won by Adele) that there has been a direct-mail campaign to academy voters against her. The song was also played at the most romantic event of the year: Kanye West’s stadium marriage proposal to Kim Kardashian.
Wilson, who charmed fans of 2012’s “Pitch Perfect,” had a rockier 2013, with her sitcom “Super Fun Night” struggling creatively and in the ratings. Her next planned movies are both sequels, to “Kung Fu Panda” and -- hoping lightning will strike twice -- to “Pitch Perfect.”
Another 2012 music icon, Gotye won the record of the year trophy at the 2013 Grammys for “Somebody That I Used to Know.” He released no new singles in 2013, and has told the press he has been struggling to complete new material. Good luck, Gotye!
The golden boy of the 2012 Olympics, without feats of aquatic derring-do to distract the public this year, saw his always-tenuous persona completely shift from “amiable jock” into “utter dolt” with his E! reality series. Worst of all, the series was canceled.
In 2012, the young actress -- best known for her role in the indie “Winter’s Bone” and a supporting part in the “X-Men” franchise -- had marquee roles in the first “Hunger Games” film and in David O. Russell’s comedy “Silver Linings Playbook.” In 2013, she played to her strengths: After winning an Oscar, she starred in the second “Hunger Games” movie, on whose publicity tour she managed to charm everyone in America, and had another role in a David O. Russell comedy, “American Hustle,” for which she might just win ANOTHER Oscar. By 2014, she may end up running a major studio, or serving as president.
The breakout bikini model of 2012 made a repeat appearance on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue -- and got to do high-fashion spreads in Elle, Vogue and Vanity Fair. She was cast in a Cameron Diaz comedy, too. Some types of appeal are eternal!
E. L. James
The “50 Shades” novelist now gets to help share some input into a movie adaptation set for release in 2015. She probably never needs to work again! Isn’t that great? Isn’t that … just … great?
The “Gangnam Style” phenom performed at New Year’s 2013, but will spend New Year’s 2014 flipping channels to find his pistachio ad, his goofy antics having been outdone in the past year by “The Fox” singers Ylvis. Nothing meme can stay.
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