Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives plan to pass a bill next week to repeal President Barack Obama’s overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system, a senior party aide said Monday, but the effort is widely expected to fail in the Senate.
The new Congress will convene Wednesday with Republicans in control of the House after November’s midterm elections. They are set to move ahead with their campaign promise to try to rescind the new healthcare law, one of Obama’s signature legislative victories.
Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for incoming House Republican leader Eric Cantor, said the House plans to vote on legislation to repeal the healthcare law on Jan. 12.
“It will pass the House,” Dayspring said.
Although Republicans will control the House, 242-193, Obama’s Democrats retain control of the Senate by 53-47 and are likely to block any repeal of the healthcare law.
“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,” Dayspring said.
Republicans, particularly from the fiscally conservative wing, were emboldened to attack the healthcare reform after a good showing in November’s elections.
Senate Democratic leaders warned against repealing a healthcare provision that closes a coverage gap in the Medicare prescription drug program for seniors.
“If House Republicans move forward with a repeal of the healthcare law that threatens consumer benefits like the ‘donut hole’ fix, we will block it in the Senate,” the Democrats wrote in a letter to incoming House Speaker John Boehner.
“Taking this benefit away from seniors would be irresponsible and reckless at a time when it is becoming harder and harder for seniors to afford a healthy retirement,” the Senate Democratic leaders wrote.
Among other provisions, the healthcare reform extends healthcare insurance to millions of Americans without coverage, but opinion polls show voters are split over it. The reform has become a favorite target for Republicans who say it is an excessive reach by the federal government.
Even if repeal fails, Republicans will yield considerable sway over the government purse strings and try to use that power to deny the Obama administration’s requests on financing to implement the new healthcare law.
Dayspring said the House will hold a procedural vote on Friday in preparation for the Jan. 12 vote.
(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro, Editing by Stacey Joyce)
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