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GOP Waits on Health Care Repeal

Scott J. Ferrell/ CQ Roll Call
Republican Sens. Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) are eager to change the health care law in the next Congress.

House Republicans, who will control the agenda in a few weeks, will either try to pass a bill to repeal the health care legislation or to kill funding for certain aspects of it. And like Senate Republicans, House Republicans’ top agenda item for the lame duck is addressing the expiring Bush tax cuts.

Some of the most vocal health care repeal proponents appear to be on board with the delay, but warn that Republican leaders must act as soon as Congress reconvenes next year. Among them is Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), a tea party favorite. King was scheduled to meet Tuesday evening with Boehner to urge the presumed Speaker to make the health care law repeal the first bill introduced in the new Congress.

“This is a mission for the 112th Congress, so I’ll be lobbying the likely incoming Speaker to take his HR 1 designation and have that be the stand-alone repeal of Obamacare, no strings attached,” he said.

King acknowledged that it would be nearly impossible to try to do a health care repeal bill during the lame duck.

Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.), a member of the GOP Doctors Caucus, also said he thought a health care repeal would happen next year. He said House Republicans would start by going for a full repeal.

House Republicans will have an easier time passing a measure than the Senate will. McConnell and the rest of the GOP leadership team are still planning their strategy.

But one thing is certain. Republicans are hoping that Members fresh off the campaign trail — and who were elected in part because they promised to repeal the health care law — will push Senate Democrats to reconsider their support for it.

“You want to bring the topic up when you have the most strength,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said. “A lot of the new Members need to talk about this issue because they’re fresh off the battlefield and they can probably enlighten the rest of us as to how the people feel about it.”

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