House Republicans passed a bill to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care plan Wednesday, taking their first major step toward rolling back the massive overhaul that has dominated the American political landscape for almost two years.
The vote was 245 to 189, and unanimous GOP support gave the vote the same partisan feel of the March vote to pass the law, underscoring once again the hardened political lines of the health care debate. Only three Democrats backed the repeal, a smaller number than Republicans had once predicted.
The bill will head next to the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has promised to block it. If it did receive a vote, the repeal bill would be unlikely to draw support from even a majority of senators. Even so, House Republican leaders have challenged Reid to give the bill a vote since Democrats, who control the chamber, have little to fear.
Republicans rejected a procedural maneuver by the Democratic minority to make repeal ineffective unless a majority of the House and Senate withdraw from the federal health benefits program within 30 days after passage by each chamber.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said the effort was “an attempt to derail an appeal of the Obamacare bill.”
House members flooded the floor throughout the day, delivering short but occasionally impassioned speeches that echoed their party’s talking points.
Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) called the law “a trillion-dollar tragedy.”
Rep. John Duncan (R-Tenn.) described it as “job-killing” and “socialistic.”
Rep. Kevin Duncan (R-Texas) said “health care is too important to get it wrong, and Obamacare got it wrong.”
Most of the pundits predict that the repeal won’t pass the still Dem contolled Senate. Even if it doesn’t, the Republicans can give ObamaCare a death by a thousand cuts, by passing bills which make it null and void, while replacing parts of it with common sense measures that return health care rights and choices back to the American people.