A united House Republican caucus passed two bills delaying key parts of President Obama’s health care law Wednesday, demonstrating that House Republican leaders are not dependent on Democratic votes for high profile legislation.

Republicans united
Despite opposition from some prominent conservative activists, only one Republican, Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., voted with Democrats against both the bill to delay implementation of Obamacare’s employer mandate, and the bill to delay implementation of Obamacare’s individual mandate.

Referencing a similar successful effort to pass the farm bill with just Republican votes last week, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif, told National Review‘s Robert Costa, “The speaker’s hand is strengthened. In politics, you’ve got to show that you can get bills through without the other side. We did that, and we got back to where we needed to be as a Republican team.”

Dems in disarray
While Republicans acted in almost total unison against Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment, House Democrats lost almost three dozen votes on the employer mandate delay (final vote: 264 to 161) and almost two dozen on the individual mandate vote (final vote: 251 to 174).

Recent polls from both Gallup and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have clearly established that Obamacare’s employer mandate is a job killer. According to Gallup, 41 percent of small businesses have frozen hiring because of Obamacare, 19 percent have had to fire people, and 38 percent said they “have pulled back on their plans to grow their business.”

A separate Chamber of Commerce poll of small businesses found that 27 percent will cut hours to reduce full time employees, 24 percent will reduce hiring, and 23 percent will replace full time employees with part-time workers to avoid triggering the mandate.

The only real surprise is how many Democrats voted with their caucus against the delays.

September showdown
Neither the employer mandate delay, nor the individual mandate delay have any chance of getting to the Senate floor. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., would never let his caucus take such embarrassing votes.

But yesterday’s votes were still meaningful. They demonstrated that House Republican leaders can produce the ‘ayes’ necessary to pass key legislation without Democratic help. This will give them greater leverage when they negotiate the next continuing resolution to keep the federal government funded past the end of September.

Look for House Republicans to demand some real cuts in Obamacare implementation funding, especially regarding health insurance subsidies.

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In Other News
The New York Times, Momentum Shifts in Syria, Bolstering Assad’s Position: Though his country is in shambles, President Bashar al-Assad now seems better positioned to hang on to power than he has been for most of Syria’s two-year civil war.
McClatchy Newspapers, Obama to announce health insurance rebates for 8.5 million Americans: One day after House Republicans passed legislation to delay enforcement of the health care law’s individual mandate, President Obama will take to the airwaves to announce that checks are in the mail for 8.5 million Americans who’ll split more than $504 million in rebates from their heath insurance company, thanks to a provision of the health law that penalizes insurers for wasteful spending.

Lefty Playbook
Paul Krugman says Obamacare Is the Right’s Worst Nightmare.
Think Progress attacks Ken Cuccinelli for trying to “restore ban on oral sex.”
Greg Sargent previews the House’s amnesty plan.

Righty Playbook
Katie Tubb notes that Australia wants to repeal the carbon tax they passed just last year.
Robert Costa on Kevin McCarthy’s whip operation.
James Pethokoukis on 5 ways to generate at least 5 million new jobs by 2020.