Worst Week in Washington
A weekly award honoring inhabitants of Planet Beltway

Who had the worst week in Washington? President Obama.

The news came in the form of a blog post from Assistant Treasury Secretary Mark J. Mazur. Its business-as-usual title — “Continuing to Implement the ACA in a Careful, Thoughtful Manner” — belied the doozy that it was.

“The Administration is announcing that it will provide an additional year before the ACA mandatory employer and insurer reporting requirements begin,” Mazur explained. Translation: A major component of the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — won’t start until 2015. Because it’s not ready.

Worst Week in Washington

Chris Cillizza grants the award to the Democrat, Republican, West Wing dweller, Capitol Hill insider, K Street dealer, business guru, sports hero, think tank scribblers or other inhabitant of Planet Beltway who experienced the absolute worst week.

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If this delay happened in a vacuum, it might be okay for the president. But Republicans and even some Democrats have been suggesting for a while that Obamacare could be a disaster-in-waiting. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) have both said implementation could amount to a “train wreck” if the public is not properly informed about what’s coming.

Now, the Obama administration has lent credence to concerns that its health-care act is a logistical mess that expands an already unwieldy federal bureaucracy.

This law remains President Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment — one he will be judged by for years after he leaves office. Whether this delay amounts to a momentary setback or the first in a series of problems is impossible to predict. But the fact that Obamacare’s implementation is being pushed back more than three years after it was passed shows what a tough road — or, perhaps, track — lies ahead.

President Obama, for allowing your eponymous reform to look like a slow train coming, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.

Have a candidate for the Worst Week in Washington? E-mail Chris Cillizza at chris.cillizza@washpost.com.

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