The House Republicans took the first official step today to repeal ObamaCare, over the strong objections of the Democrats. The GOP passed a rule by 236-181, which allows the repeal legislation to be voted on by the House on Wednesday.
The bill is expected to pass the House with Republican votes, but faces opposition in the Democrat-controlled Senate. President Obama said he will veto the repeal if it passes Congress.
“Today we are taking the first step in fulfilling a key promise to the American people. With this rule, we are setting in motion a process to repeal President Obama’s job-killing health care bill and replace it with real solutions,” said Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) when he introduced the rule on the floor.
The rule starts the process of repealing the $1.2 trillion health care law by setting the terms for the debate next week. The repeal bill (H.R. 2) will be debated on the House floor for seven hours, then the replacement measure (H.R. 9) will have one hour of debate.
To get the rule to a vote, Dreier’s committee heard the Democrats debate against the repeal for 12 hours on Thursday.
“Some of my friends on the other side of the aisle have asked why there will be no amendments to the repeal bill. Frankly, there is nothing to amend. Either we’re going to wipe the slate clean and start fresh, or we’re not. This rule will provide Members the opportunity next week to show which side they are on, said Dreier.
The Democrats are up in arms over the repeal of their beloved health care legislation. They claim that repealing ObamaCare will result in people dying unnecessarily and the budget deficit increasing.
“People will die as we proceed in this untimely and ludicrous process,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Tex.)
“We can choose to provide valuable benefits to millions of Americans while paying down our national deficit . . . or we can choose to end valuable health care protections for millions and add $230 billion to the nation’s deficit,” said the ranking Democrat on the Rules Committee, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.)
“I haven’t had a single constituent — and I know you haven’t — [who has] begged you to bring back these abuses! Is that what they want?,” Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) screamed on the floor.
The Democrats’ argument that repealing ObamaCare raises the deficit is based on the way they had the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score the bill, or estimate the bill’s cost.
However, Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said the CBO accounting is incorrect because the Democrats gave the agency faulty accounting. Problems in the accounting included:
* Disregarding the $115 billion needed to implement the law;
* Double-counting $521 billion in Social Security payroll taxes ($53 billion), CLASS Act premiums ($70 billion), and Medicare cuts ($398 billion);
* Ignoring the costly “doc-fix” provision;
* Comparing different time frames: 10 years of revenues (tax increases) to offset six years of new spending.
The Budget Committee cites the actual cost of ObamaCare when fully implemented will be $2.7 trillion and add $700 billion to the deficit in the first 10 years.
“This bill is an economic and fiscal disaster of unprecedented proportions. The time to undo it before any more damage is done is quickly running out,” said Dreier.
But, the Republicans say the debate over the CBO scoring is not important to the American people.
“We need to stop arguing about inside baseball budget gimmicks,” said Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on the floor. “The new open-ended, entitlement program will grow unsustainable fast, will drive costs up, and could potentially bankrupt the federal government, as well as our states.”
“Only in Washington, D.C., can a $2.7 trillion increase — cutting that, eliminating that, scrapping that — in fact cost money,” said Dreier. “It’s absolutely crazy.”