Republicans to vote again on a repeal of health care reform
WASHINGTON US HOUSE Republicans will take the symbolic step this week of voting to repeal health care reform, attacking President Barack Obama landmark domestic achievement as they bid to oust him in November.
Wednesday’s vote will be the 31st time Republicans have sought to repeal all or part of the landmark legislation, and the first on the issue since the Supreme Court upheld the law’s constitutionality two weeks ago.
Even if the Republicancontrolled House votes to strike down a law which brings the United States closer to universal health care, their bid is dead in the water — Democrats control the Senate, and Obama wields a veto pen.
But it could serve to put the president, Democrats and voters on notice that the Supreme Court’s decision has galvanised Republicans and their flag-bearer Mitt Romney, who faces off against Obama in November’s election.
“Our mission is clear: If we want to get rid of ‘Obamacare’ we’re going to have to replace President Obama,” Romney said, on June 28, just two hours after the Supreme Court ruling.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor confirmed, after the body’s Rules Committee met to lay out parameters for a floor vote, that the chamber will begin debate on Tuesday then vote Wednesday on whether to repeal the law.
“It’s time to stop Obamacare’s broken promises,” he said on Twitter.
The White House swiftly came out in strong opposition of the move, saying repealing such basic protections for everyday Americans would be “a massive step backward.” “Repealing the health care law would have implications far beyond the estimated 30 million Americans without insurance who would lose the health coverage they were going to receive,” the Office of Management and Budget said.
Such a move, OMB noted, would allow insurance companies to stop six million young adults from joining their parents’ health plans, refuse to cover children because of pre-existing conditions and impose lifetime limits on coverage.
It also cited Congressional Budget Office estimates which “indicate that repealing the health care law would add more than $100 billion to the deficit over the next decade and more than $1 trillion in the following decade.” But Republicans, who see Obama’s reforms as government overreach that restricts Americans’ liberties, have initiated a total of 30 votes in the House to repeal all or part of health reform since Obama signed it into law in 2010.
None has moved beyond the House, and the 31st is likely to suffer the same fate.
Romney has vowed to begin moves to repeal of Obama’s signature domestic achievement on his first day in office next January if the Republican wins the November election.
And, should his party also win the necessary four seats needed to take back the 100- seat US Senate, which analysts say is a possibility, a repeal could suddenly appear more realistic.
But thanks to a quirk of Senate rules, it takes 60 votes to bring a bill to the floor, and 60 votes to overcome filibuster blocking tactics by the minority party.
With Republicans currently holding 47 seats, winning 13 seats to achieve such a filibuster- proof “super-majority” would be a Herculean task, although some Republican senators have announced a campaign to try and do just that.