House Republicans plan another health care repeal vote
WASHINGTON (CNN) — House Republicans are planning a vote Wednesday, July 11th on repealing President Barack Obama’s signature health care reform law, even though they know the measure has no chance of winning Senate approval.
The vote will be latest in a series of dozens of House GOP efforts to undermine the 2010 Affordable Care Act, including previous votes to repeal the measure or cut funding for various provisions. Even when passed by the House, the measures have mostly died in the Democratic-led Senate.
Wednesday’s vote will be the first since last month’s Supreme Court ruling that upheld the constitutionality of the act known as Obamacare. Obama and Democrats say the high court ruling should end the political debate over the health care law, rather than revive the Republican repeal effort.
“The Supreme Court has spoken,” Obama told a campaign event Friday in Pittsburgh. “The law we passed is here to stay.”
But Republicans, led by certain presidential nominee Mitt Romney, call for eliminating the law and starting over on the complex issue that affects every American.
“This has to be ripped out by its roots,” House Speaker John Boehner told CBS in an interview last week.
The White House formally notified House leaders Monday night that Obama will veto any repeal bill that manages to reach his desk, saying repeal “would cost millions of hard-working middle class families the security of affordable health coverage and care they deserve.”
“The last thing the Congress should do is re-fight old political battles and take a massive step backward by repealing basic protections that provide security for the middle class,” a White House statement said. “Right now, the Congress needs to work together to focus on the economy and creating jobs.”
Even with no chance of achieving repeal, the House vote gives Republicans another chance to demonstrate their opposition to Obamacare and puts many Democrats on record of supporting the controversial measure. The GOP’s conservative base vehemently opposes the individual mandate in the law that requires people to obtain health insurance or pay a fine.
In its ruling, the Supreme Court said the mandate was constitutional under the government’s taxing authority, and Republicans have jumped on that to characterize the provision as a tax increase on middle-class Americans.
The health care issue has been among the most divisive of Obama’s presidency. Conservative anger over the measure helped launch the tea party movement, and conservative groups joined with industry groups to fund a giant public pressure campaign against the legislation, which Democrats pushed through Congress with no Republican support.
On Monday, the Democratic campaign arm for the U.S. House of Representatives released a series of new online ads attacking some House Republicans over their opposition to the federal health care law. The ads target seven House Republicans considered vulnerable in November by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
“House Republicans are sending an unmistakable message to voters that Republicans want to cut benefits for middle class families and protect insurance companies instead,” DCCC Chairman Steve Israel said in a statement. “The American people don’t want more of these political stunts from Republicans to pander to special interests, they want action to strengthen the middle class and create jobs.”