The House Republicans passed the repeal of ObamaCare, after seven hours of heated debate, and against the ardent protests of the Democrats.
The Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act passed on Wednesday evening by a vote of 245-189. All of the House Republicans voted in favor of repeal, as well as three Democrats: Rep. Dan Boren (OK), Rep. Mike McIntyre (N.C.), and Rep. Mike Ross (Ark.).
The repeal will now face two huge hurdles: the Democrat-controlled Senate and President Obama.
“Repeal means keeping a promise. We listened to the people. We made a commitment to them. A pledge to make their priorities, our priorities” said Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) during the floor debate on Wednesday.
The bill repeals the $1.2 trillion, 2,801 page Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, enacted by the Democratic Congress and President Obama.
“Let’s stop payment on this check before it can destroy more jobs and put us in a deeper hole,” said Boehner.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) spent 11 minutes on the House floor telling sob stories in a fruitless effort to save her prized health care law. (In contrast, Boehner spoke for only three minutes to make his factual points on the repeal.)
“We should send a strong message today with a great vote against this repeal, which is so harmful to the health of the American people, which is so damaging to our fiscal health as well,” said Pelosi.
Clearly, Pelosi still does not understand the message of the midterm elections that the American people do not want a government takeover of their health care. She ended her speech by saying that the biggest reason to vote against repeal is to “have people know that we want to have what is best for them.”
The next step in the repeal process is getting a vote in the Senate. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said that he would not bring the repeal bill up for a vote, but house and Senate GOP leaders are not giving up the fight.
“The Democratic leadership in the Senate doesn’t want to vote on this bill. But I assure you, we will,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said immediately after the House vote. “We should repeal this law and focus on common sense steps that actually lower costs and encourage private sector job creation.”
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told reporters before the vote that, “I have a problem with the assumption here that somehow the Senate can be a place for legislation to go into a cul-de-sac.”
“Leader Reid continues to say that he is not going to bring this up for a vote in the Senate. The American people deserve a full hearing. They deserve to see this legislation go to the Senate for a full vote,’ said Cantor.
Outside groups are also pushing for the repeal to move forward. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich set up an online petition to mobilize the citizens in the 23 states who have Democratic senators up for re-election in 2012. Through his organization, American Solutions, Gingrich already got 100,000 people sign the pledge to push their senators to repeal ObamaCare.
Also, the American Action Forum sent a letter on Tuesday to both House and Senate leadership in which 200 economists strongly support repealing the health care bill. “We believe the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a threat to U.S. businesses and will place a crushing debt burden on future generations of Americans,” the economists wrote in the letter.
Recent estimates put the cost of ObamaCare, when fully implemented, as high as $2.6 trillion. Chairman of the House Budget Committee Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) estimates that the law will add more than $700 billion to the national debt over 10 years.
Even if the repeal passes the Senate, President Obama said that he would not sign it. But, Republicans are determined to eventually fully repeal the law.
“We will continue this fight until ObamaCare is no longer the law of the land,” said Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) who led the repeal drive last year.
The full repeal may only be possible after the 2012 election. “We still have to elect a president who will sign the full repeal,” as Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who started the repeal process last year, told HUMAN EVENTS.
Meanwhile, the House Republicans are planning to defund big portions of ObamaCare through the Appropriations Committee in this year’s spending bills.
On Thursday, the House will vote to replace ObamaCare with GOP alternatives through a transparent committee process. The replacement bill will instruct three committees — Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and the Workforce — to start holding hearings immediately on replacement.
“Let’s work together to put in place reforms that lower the cost [of health care] without destroying jobs or bankrupting our government. Let’s challenge ourselves to do better.” said Boehner.
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