House Republicans are wasting no time making good on their campaign pledge to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care reform law: Floor debate on repeal will begin Friday, with a final vote scheduled for Jan. 12.
Speaker-designate John Boehner (Ohio) and other House GOP leaders made repeal of the health care law a key component of their successful 2010 campaign to capture control of the House. The Members of the 112th Congress will be sworn in Wednesday.
But despite the GOP leaders’ promises, tea party activists are skeptical about their resolve, and a quick push to repeal the law has widely been seen as important to demonstrating the Republicans’ commitment to the movement, which was central to the GOP’s electoral successes.
Republicans were expected to post the repeal bill, dubbed the Repeal of the Job Killing Health Care Law Act, on the Rules Committee’s website Monday night, and the committee will consider the measure Thursday. The legislation will be a simple repeal of the entire health care law, which Obama signed in March 2010.
Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for House Majority Leader-designate Eric Cantor (Va.), said Republicans were moving to repeal the law because of its economic effects.
“ObamaCare is a job killer for businesses small and large, and the top priority for House Republicans is going to be to cut spending and grow the economy and jobs. Further, ObamaCare failed to lower costs as the president promised that it would and does not allow people to keep the care they currently have if they like it. That is why the House will repeal it next week,” Dayspring said.
The repeal legislation will likely easily pass in the House and could garner the two-thirds support needed to override a presidential veto. But with the Senate still controlled by Democrats, the bill has virtually no chance of making it to Obama’s desk.
House Democrats ramped up their efforts to block the repeal Monday, while a returning moderate House Democrat said he would not back the GOP measure even though he opposed the overhaul.
In a letter to their colleagues, six key Democrats announced they would seek to include a series of amendments to the rule governing debate designed to preserve critical provisions of this landmark law that have broad public support. Reps. Peter Welch (Vt.), Anna Eshoo (Calif.), Lois Capps (Calif.), Jane Harman (Calif.), Jan Schakowsky (Ill.) and Bruce Braley (Iowa) said they would offer amendments to protect the laws elimination of lifetime limits on coverage, coverage for children up to age 26, a ban on pre-existing condition denials and a requirement that preventive care be provided free of charge.
Meanwhile, Rep. Heath Shuler (N.C.), a Democratic opponent of the health care bill and a leader of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition, accused Republican leaders of "grandstanding and politicizing the process.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.