Obama visit may spare Esty from Obamacare vote

Washington – President Obama’s visit to Central Connecticut State University Wednesday may spare Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, from having to make another controversial vote.

Esty plans to be among the Connecticut politicians who will be on hand to welcome the president. Obama is visiting Connecticut to meet with Gov. Dannel Malloy and other New England governors to highlight the president’s campaign to raise the federal minimum wage – now set at $7.25.

But the day of Obama’s visit to CCSU in New Britain, which is in Esty’s district, is also the day House Republicans plan another vote on the individual mandate, the Affordable Care Act requirement that Americans have health insurance or pay a penalty. It is accepted practice for lawmakers to play host to the president on visits to their districts or state.

Although she may miss the vote, Esty spokeswoman Laura Maloney said the lawmaker will submit an official statement to the Congressional Record  “to let her constituents know how she would have voted if she ends up missing any votes on Wednesday.”

Last year, Esty drew criticisms from liberals for voting with a majority of Republicans to delay that mandate for a year.

Meanwhile, Republicans last week taunted Esty and 21 other Democrats who voted to delay the mandate.

“The last time the House voted to delay Obamacare’s individual mandate… 22 House Democrats bucked the president and House Democratic leadership, “ said Mike Long, spokesman for House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy. “We expect a similar strong showing by House Dems in the ‘yes’ column next week in light of their constituents facing steep premium increases, new unaffordable deductibles, canceled plans, reduced wages or work hours and loss of doctors… “

Obama’s decision to visit Connecticut means Long may not be able to count on Esty’s vote. Her office did not respond to questions about her schedule Wednesday.

In any case, House legislation to delay the mandate is virtually meaningless — other than putting some Democrats under pressure — since the Democratic-led Senate will ignore it.

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