House Plans Final Vote Next Week on Repeal of Health Care Reform Law
On Thursday, House Republican leadership aides announced that the House will resume legislative work next week, beginning with final floor debate and a vote on legislation (HR 2) that would repeal the federal health reform law, Politico reports.
Republicans will launch a two-day floor debate of the bill, beginning on Tuesday evening and ending with the final vote on Wednesday evening (Sherman, Politico, 1/13).
Returning to Work
The House was scheduled to vote on the bill Jan. 12, but House leaders and members unanimously agreed to delay the vote and shelve the week's legislative agenda after the Jan. 8 shooting in Arizona, which critically injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). On Jan. 7, the repeal bill cleared its first major hurdle as the Republican-controlled House voted 236-181 to allow the bill to move forward to the final debate (California Healthline, 1/10).
On Thursday, a spokesperson for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said, "As the White House noted [this week], it is important for Congress to get back to work, and to that end we will resume thoughtful consideration of the health care bill next week," adding, "Americans have legitimate concerns about the cost of the new health care law and its effect on the ability to grow jobs in our country. It is our expectation that the debate will continue to focus on those substantive policy differences surrounding the new law."
Cantor's office said it planned to release a more detailed schedule of next week's legislative agenda on Friday.
The bill is expected to pass easily in the House but is expected to stall in the Democratic-controlled Senate (Sonmez, "44," Washington Post, 1/13). On Jan. 20, Republicans intend to introduce a bill that would direct House committees to develop a series of replacement bills to the reform law, Politico reports (Politico, 1/13).
Lawmakers Expect Subdued Debate
Republicans said they intend to follow through on a request by President Obama and other lawmakers to tone down the highly charged debate on the health reform law after the shooting in Arizona by conducting "a sober, issue-oriented debate" that would convince voters that the law needs to be repealed, the Washington Post reports.
Michael Steel, a spokesperson for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), said, "The president made very specific promises about what the health care bill would do," adding, "We can and should have a debate about the facts of the law and its record."
Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) noted that a change in tone "doesn't mean the issues go away, it doesn't mean that the positions on those issues change, but yes, this is going to affect everybody" (Murray/Kane, Washington Post, 1/14).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.