CQ TODAY ONLINE NEWS
July 6, 2012 – 10:46 p.m.
Health Care Repeal Likely in House
By Melissa Attias, Alan Ota, CQ Staff
With the Supreme Court’s decision to largely uphold the health care overhaul behind them, House Republicans are pushing forward with a July 11 floor vote on legislation that would repeal the law, while Senate Republicans are divided on how to attack it this summer and fall.
House GOP leadership announced the repeal vote on June 28, the same day the high court released its ruling. A spokeswoman for Majority Leader
Democrats are likely to use the debate to tout the popular benefits of the 2010 law (PL 111-148, PL 111-152), such as the provision that allows young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until they turn 26, and to criticize the GOP for spending time on repeal instead of focusing on the economy. But Republicans have maintained that the overhaul stifles economic growth and hiring, and raises health care costs.
“By passing our repeal bill in July, we will give the Senate and Mr. Obama a second opportunity to follow the will of the American people,” Speaker
The length of time for floor debate is scheduled to be determined Monday evening by the Rules Committee. Spokesman Doug Andres said he expects that general debate will be extended beyond the customary hour.
The committee reported a rule last year on another repeal bill (
The draft text of the new repeal measure was posted online July 5 and is expected to be formally introduced by Cantor on Monday.
Unlike its predecessor, the draft includes an extensive list of findings that explains its supporters’ rationale for repealing the law.
The language maintains, for example, that the overhaul “imposes 21 new or higher taxes” on individuals and businesses and that 12 of those are on families earning less than $250,000 annually.
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the law’s requirement that most individuals maintain health coverage or pay a penalty falls within Congress’ power to tax, and Republicans have seized on the tax label as a new line of attack against the White House. The Ways and Means Committee released a chart the day of the court’s decision outlining the 21 tax provisions, and it has scheduled a July 10 hearing on the impact of the ruling on Congress’ constitutional power to levy taxes.
Also criticized in the bill is the law’s creation of a 15-member board tasked with making cost-cutting recommendations if Medicare spending exceeds target growth rates. The House passed legislation (
“The path to patient-centered care and lower costs for all Americans must begin with a full repeal of the law,” the language says.
Reid: ‘Just a Show Vote’
Health Care Repeal Likely in House
Although it is expected to pass the GOP-controlled House, the bill is unlikely to advance in the Democrat-led Senate, which rebuffed an amendment containing language nearly identical to the original House repeal bill in February 2011.
Senate Majority Leader
“I think we will also be insisting that we have a vote on Obamacare again before the election,” the Kentucky Republican said on “Fox News Sunday.” “But in terms of achieving it, it would take a different Senate with a different majority leader and a different president.”
But McConnell and other senior Senate Republicans have also left open the possibility of trying to take bites out of the two-year-old law in the session’s closing months.
“I don’t know about the wisdom of giving people an opportunity to muddy the water or hedge their bets by now voting the other way,” Cornyn said.
But rank-and-file GOP senators, including
Cornyn said Republican leaders will probably discuss proposals by Paul and other caucus members case by case.
The cautious approach by GOP leaders to the idea of taking the health law apart piece by piece is drawing push-back from conservative group leaders. But Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, has compiled a list of what he says are 20 taxes in the law that could be targeted individually.
“We’re going to repeal the whole stupid thing. It’s evil. It’s bad. And today, we’re going to pull out its lungs,” Norquist said during a July 2 meeting with CQ Roll Call editors and reporters.
Norquist dismissed concerns like Cornyn’s that votes on repeal of specific provisions would blur party lines or sap momentum for full repeal.
While pondering their health care strategy for the coming weeks, Cornyn and other senior Republicans are urging members of their caucus to focus on what’s needed to win majorities in both chambers in the next Congress. If that is accomplished, they tell the rank and file, full repeal of the health care law can be the centerpiece of a 2013 budget reconciliation measure protected from filibuster in the Senate.