House Postpones Vote on Health Reform Repeal After Arizona Shooting
A House vote scheduled for Wednesday on Republican legislation (HR 2) to repeal the federal health reform law has been postponed indefinitely following the shooting in Arizona on Saturday, CQ Today reports (Ethridge, CQ Today, 1/9).
Hours after the shooting in Tucson, in which Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was shot and critically injured, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announced that the entire legislative agenda this week will be postponed to accommodate "whatever actions may be necessary in light of [the] tragedy." Cantor later issued a revised agenda for the week (Sullivan, Reuters, 1/9).
Repeal Overcomes Procedural Vote; Obstacles Remain
On Friday, House Republicans cleared the first major hurdle for the repeal legislation after the chamber voted 236-181 to allow the bill to proceed for a final floor vote, the AP/Boston Globe reports (Alonso-Zaldivar, AP/Boston Globe, 1/7). Almost all Republicans voted in favor of the motion to proceed, while nearly every Democrat opposed it (Silverleib, CNN, 1/7).
Four Democrats who voted against the overhaul last year -- Reps. Dan Boren (Okla.), Larry Kissell (N.C.), Mike McIntyre (N.C.) and Mike Ross (Ark.) -- voted in favor of the repeal legislation (AP/Boston Globe, 1/7).
According to Reuters, the measure is expected to pass easily in the House because of the new GOP majority (Reuters, 1/7). However, it has "virtually no chance" of moving past the Senate, where Democrats still hold a majority, or overcoming a presidential veto, CNN reports (CNN, 1/7).
Lawmakers Seek More Subdued Debate
Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of lawmakers over the weekend insisted that the debate over the health reform law and efforts to repeal it should be toned down in the aftermath of the Arizona shooting, Politico reports. However, some Republican lawmakers insisted that repealing the reform law must remain a priority.
On Sunday, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chair of the Republican conference, said, "We ought to cool it, tone it down, treat each other with great respect, respect each other's ideas, and even on difficult issues like immigration or taxes or the health care law, do our best not to inflame passions" (Haberkorn, Politico, 1/9).
Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) -- a proponent of the repeal effort and vice chair of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health -- said, "There will be a time of introspection" on the Arizona tragedy, but "we should always be mindful that we're in the people's House" and "we are required to do the people's business."
Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) said, "My expectation is that the tone of the debate will be modulated, but we will not be any less passionate. I hope we will tone down the ad hominem attacks and the personal attacks on the people we disagree with" (CQ Today, 1/9).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.