The House voted on Wednesday to repeal the sweeping healthcare law enacted last year, as Republicans made good on a central campaign pledge and laid down the first major policy marker of their new majority.
The party-line vote was 245-189, as three Democrats joined all 242 Republicans in supporting repeal.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the healthcare law on the books would increase spending, raise taxes and eliminate jobs.
“Repeal means paving the way for better solutions that will lower the costs without destroying jobs or bankrupting our government," Boehner said in remarks on the floor before the vote.
“Let’s stop payment on this check before it can destroy more jobs or put us into a deeper hole.”
The vote to roll back the president’s signature domestic achievement of the 111th Congress just 10 months after its passage underscores the deep divisions that still surround the new law. But whether House action will signal the beginning of a rapid dismantling of the healthcare overhaul or serve merely as a historical footnote remains to be seen.
As was explained in yesterday's piece, the Democratically controlled Senate, led by Harry Reid, has already refused to even bring the bill to the floor of the Senate for a vote.
The previous update on Obamacare repeal (linked above) also showed that six more states have joined in the lawsuits against Obama and Democrats health care law, bringing the total to 26 states now suing.
NRO has a good piece worth the couple minutes it will take to read the whole thing, but I will highlight the reason this House vote to repeal Obamacare is more than just "symbolic" as liberal media and Democrats would like people to believe.
The argument that the repeal effort is meaningless is offered in bad faith. Everyone knew that Pres. George W. Bush would veto funding for embryonic-stem-cell funding, but no one — not even we — said Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi was therefore wasting our time in advocating it. Moreover, in our constitutional system of government, the House and Senate often take positions that are opposed by the other chamber, and presidents quite regularly send proposals to Congress that are thought to be “dead on arrival.” That does not make them unimportant. The president and his allies want to create the perception that Obamacare is now a settled matter, and that Republicans should get over it. Passage by the House of full repeal makes it abundantly clear that Obamacare is far from a settled matter. That’s a crucial message to send to the public, to employers, to the states, and to participants in the health sector, as they make decisions about what is likely to happen with Obamacare in coming years.
The repeal vote is also an important statement for political accountability. The president and his allies jammed Obamacare through Congress with an arrogance not seen in many years. They had large majorities in the 111th Congress, and they were determined to use it to pass a government-run health plan, come what may. At every crucial step, they chose to go it alone with Democrats rather than compromise in any meaningful way. To get the votes for passage, they bullied opponents, bought votes, and made an end run around the Senate after Scott Brown’s victory — all because they wanted to pass their partisan and government-heavy health-care plan without any compromise whatsoever. (Procedurally, the most outrageous Democratic maneuver was to change election law in Massachusetts so that an appointed senator, Paul Kirk, could put the bill over the top.)
The only remedy for such a brazen power play is to oust those who orchestrated it at the next opportunity, which the voters did in November, and to undo the offending legislation. The House vote is just the first step toward remedying this situation and giving the American people a reform plan built on consensus, not division.
This vote shows Republicans who campaigned heavily for the midterms last November by promising to do everything in their power to repeal and/or defund Obamacare, kept that pledge to those who rewarded them by voting to give them the biggest turnover of House seats in over 70 years.
The next step in what promises to be a long battle is being taken today according to The Hill:
Having voted as promised to roll back the Democrats' healthcare reform law, the new GOP majority is now faced with following through on the second part of its "repeal and replace" pledge.
Fresh off Wednesday night's vote in favor of repeal, the House will take up a resolution Thursday morning directing committees to develop alternatives to the reform law.
And the GOP chairmen of the House panels tasked with drafting those alternatives will offer an initial look, at an afternoon press conference, at their efforts.
The task will not be easy for Republicans as they have to attempt to keep the few popular portions and weed out the unpopular from the almost 2,000 page monstrosity the Democrats passed last March and they need to propose spending cuts to pay for the portions they keep as well.
Republicans in the House need to keep the public informed, be as transparent as possible, keep the majority of Americans that are opposed to Obamacare still, almost a year after passage, completely in the loop each step of the way.
Our Representatives in the House are there to represent the American people and yesterday's vote did just that and voters will remember come November 2012.
If there is any "symbolism" to the Obamacare repeal vote at all, it is that the House of Representatives, for the first time in a long time, is finally showing very publicly that they are representing the majority of Americans that elected them into the House last November.
[Update] Very interesting piece at RedState, involving Senate procedures which would make it possible for Republicans to keep Obamacare repeal alive in the Senate.
Headline "Repeal of ObamaCare in the Senate - How To Do It."