Republicans to Start 2016 by Targeting Obamacare
House Republicans will begin the 2016 legislative session with another vote attacking the Affordable Care Act and defunding Planned Parenthood, and are also prepping their response to President Barack Obama’s upcoming executive actions on gun control.
The House will vote Wednesday on a reconciliation measure to repeal most of Obama’s signature domestic achievement. It will be the chamber’s second vote on the measure, which the Senate altered to roll back more of the health care law than the original House version. Using the budget reconciliation process allowed the Senate to consider the measure without the threat of a filibuster.
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Obama has said he will veto the measure, and congressional Democrats have the votes to sustain it, but Republicans want to follow through with their promise to deliver the bill to the president’s desk.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, in a blog post Monday, said the vote, which is expected to pass with mainly Republican support, will “immediately set a tone” about the path Republicans plan to set for the country.
“Passing and sending an Obamacare repeal to the President’s desk will set America up for a new patient-centered healthcare system that gives families the power over their healthcare decisions instead of Washington bureaucrats,” the California Republican wrote, adding that the action “shows that House Republicans remain committed to policy solutions that help the American people.”
Republicans want to show voters in 2016 they can pass those policy solutions.
“In a Republican House and Senate you can get a bill to the president’s desk that guts Obamacare and defunds Planned Parenthood and the only ingredient missing to sign that into law is a Republican president,” Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., told Roll Call in a recent interview . “I think that’s a crystallizing message. It’s something that shows people just what’s at stake in this presidential election.”
While launching a public attack against the law and Planned Parenthood, House Republicans will likely spend some time behind the scenes discussing how they plan to respond to Obama’s upcoming announcement of executive actions designed to curb gun violence.
Speaker Paul D. Ryan already issued a statement arguing that no change the president is reportedly considering would have prevented recent mass shootings.
“We have seen consistently that an underlying cause of these attacks has been mental illness, and we should look at ways to address this problem,” the Wisconsin Republican said, reiterating a frequently made GOP argument about overhauling the mental health system.
Ryan also previewed another argument Republicans will likely make after the president formally announces his plans. “The president is at minimum subverting the legislative branch, and potentially overturning its will,” the speaker said. “His proposals to restrict gun rights were debated by the United States Senate, and they were rejected. No president should be able to reverse legislative failure by executive fiat, not even incrementally.”
The White House is expecting congressional Republicans and gun-rights proponents to attempt to delay Obama’s coming executive actions by tying them up in the court system, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday. The White House, he said, is ready to offer “powerful and persuasive” arguments in court.
John T. Bennett contributed to this report.
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