House Republicans launch quixotic repeal of health care reform
A vote to repeal health care reform was staged by House Republicans Wednesday night. As expected, health care repeal passed with the Republican majority. The Democratic leadership in the Senate does not plan to address the issue, but Senate Republicans say they will try to force a vote to repeal health care reform.
The House vote to repeal health care reform
The vote to repeal health care reform was passed by all 242 House Republicans. Two Democratic representatives also voted for the bill, officially called “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act.” Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was the only Democrat who didn’t vote because she is currently receiving intense health care herself after being shot in the head during a public appearance Jan. 8. Voting on the bill, which is generally expected to be dead on arrival in the Senate, fulfills a promise Republicans made to get re-elected under Tea Party pressure.
House Republicans bet on Senate
House Republicans call their vote to repeal health care reform the first step in the ultimate dismantlement of the Obama administration’s signature achievement thus far. Senate majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has refused to allow a vote to repeal health care reform on the schedule. House Republicans, emboldened by their new-found majority after the 2010 election, ratcheted up their rhetorical pressure on Senate Democrats after the vote. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who authored the “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act” right after health care reform became law, likes his bill’s chances. But he may have revealed his naivete about the Senate when he said. “It’s not a place for bills to go and end.”
Health care repeal’s uphill battle
A bill to repeal health care reform won’t make it past President Obama’s desk. However, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, says he will force Reid to consider it. Senate Republicans will probably take the path of least resistance: attaching repeal of health care reform as an amendment to another bill that needs to be passed, such as funding for an essential program. Reid would block such an amendment, but Republicans would counter by forcing a vote to suspend Senate rules. The GOP needs 67 votes for that to happen, which is unlikely for a bill that has no chance of getting 60 votes by any other route.