As the Republican party is poised to take control of both the House and the Senate after Tuesday’s election sweep, House Speaker John Boehner (R – Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R – KY), who is presumed to become the Senate Majority Leader, wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal. In the op-ed, published online on Wednesday, is the promise that the new Republican Congress would focus on repealing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
“Among other things, that means a renewed effort to debate and vote on the many bills that passed the Republican-led House in recent years with bipartisan support, but were never even brought to a vote by the Democratic Senate majority,” Boehner and McConnell jointly wrote. “It also means renewing our commitment to repeal ObamaCare, which is hurting the job market along with Americans’ health care.”
Over the past few years, the House, which has had a Republican majority, voted numerous times to repeal Obamacare. The votes to repeal the President’s signature health care law, however, were seen as purely symbolic, since the Senate, which had a Democratic majority, repeatedly ignored the efforts of the House.
With the new Republican majority set to take over the Senate in January, the House plans to start the repeal process again, knowing that their votes to overturn Obamacare will no longer be ignored in a Republican-held Senate.
However, despite the results of Tuesday’s election, the Senate does not have a large enough Republican majority to overcome either a Democratic filibuster on repealing Obamacare, or a presidential veto — either or both of which would almost assuredly happen in an attempt to fully repeal Obamacare.
During a White House Press conference, President Obama did indicate that he would be willing to consider certain changes to the law.
“We are, I think, really proud of the work that’s been done. If, in fact, one of the items on Mitch McConnell’s agenda and John Boehner’s agenda is to make responsible changes to the Affordable Care Act to make it work better, I’m going to be very open and receptive to hearing those ideas. But what I will remind them is that, despite all the contention, we now know that the law works.”
Obama also stated that certain changes he would not consider, including the very unpopular individual mandate, which requires all citizens to have health insurance or face paying a penalty.
“The individual mandate is a line I can’t cross,” Obama said.
There are other changes the president will not consider in regards to Obamacare, saying bluntly, “Repeal of the law I won’t sign. Efforts that would take away health care from the 10 million people who now have it and the millions more who are now eligible to get it, we’re not going to support.”
But although Boehner and McConnell maintain that Obamacare is “hurting the job market along with Americans’ health care” and have recommitted themselves — and their party — to repealing it, McConnell admits that full repeal of the law is virtually impossible while the president is in office.
Instead, McConnell is hoping for a partial repeal of Obamacare through the appropriations process, which is likely.
Obamacare remains a contentious hot spot between Republicans and Democrats, with Republicans maintaining that it is a destructive law, taking particular issue with the small business mandate, which has been repeatedly delayed. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, however, reports Obamacare successes.
[Image via alexwhite.org]