WASHINGTON — House Republicans have set Jan. 12 as their day to vote on a repeal of President Barack Obama's health care law, after a midterm election in which they campaigned against the landmark legislation as a government takeover of the health industry.
The announcement Monday sets up the attempted repeal of the health care law as the first significant legislative action by House Republicans in the 112th Congress. With 242 members on their side, Republicans expect to pass the legislation easily, but they privately acknowledge the measure faces a high hurdle in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
"Obamacare is a job-killer for businesses small and large, and the top priority for House Republicans is going to be to cut spending and grow the economy and jobs," Brad Dayspring, spokesman for incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said in a statement.
The repeal legislation will be a brief document that simply revokes the law. Obama signed the measure in March after a legislative battle that lasted nearly a year and proved politically bruising. Democrats have since suggested it was worth the fallout.
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Although many Democrats distanced themselves from the legislation during last fall's elections, some liberals want to use this next phase as a chance to reframe the debate in their favor, particularly as the effects of the legislation begin to kick in this year.
"Republicans want another debate about health care reform? Well, so should Democrats. They beat us in Round One with lies and scare tactics. We welcome a second shot," Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., said.
And Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., the outgoing speaker, said in a post on Twitter, "While Dems are focused on job creation, GOP is fast-tracking repealing patients' rights & Rx help for seniors."
GOP leaders often advanced a "repeal and replace" theme during the 2010 campaign. A day after Republicans won control of the House in November, Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, who will replace Pelosi as speaker, signaled a slow approach to the repeal by saying that Republicans must "lay the groundwork before we begin to repeal this monstrosity."
Instead, they will pass their repeal legislation a week after the start of the new Congress.