House GOP sets date for Obamacare repeal vote

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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House Republicans plan to vote to repeal Obamacare on January 12 as their first order of business in control of the 112th Congress.

Congressman Fred Upton, Michigan Republican, said on Fox News Sunday that he expects a full repeal to make it through the House and the Senate with the enough votes to overturn a veto from President Barack Obama, which requires two-thirds of both chambers of Congress. For that to happen, Republicans would need to get 100 percent of their members to vote for the repeal along with at least 20 Democrat or independent senators and 48 House Democrats.

Congressman Steve King, Iowa Republican, told The Daily Caller that he sees the repeal effort as more of a way to get everyone on the record with where they stand on Obamacare, and doubts the repeal will even make it through the Senate, never mind getting enough Democrats on board to overturn an Obama veto.

“I think very early in January we will pass a standalone repeal bill in the House,” King said in a phone interview. “Then, that bill goes on to the Senate where I think Harry Reid will do everything possible to avoid taking it on and that means that the Jim DeMints of the world and others will have to turn up the pressure substantially and the public will need to turn up the pressure substantially on the Senate.”

Though there are no formal rallies or protests plans in place, Tea Party groups nationwide are readying for the fight. Tea Party Patriots co-founder Mark Meckler said conservatives around the country are fired up and ready to start lighting up their representatives’ phones and filling their inboxes, especially those of the more moderate Blue Dog Democrats.

Meckler said local groups are gathering their resources after a short holiday break, adding that the American people don’t want Obamacare, which is something he said is evident in most polls on the subject.

Meckler told TheDC that conservatives are targeting Blue Dog Democrats because they aren’t as cozy with outgoing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Blue Dog Democratic senators up for reelection in 2012, Meckler said, should be easier targets because they have to answer to the people in just a couple of years.

King thinks getting a repeal to Obama, whether he vetoes it or not, would be detrimental to Obamacare as the president would have to justify his health care reform. To do that, King said Republican senators would need to turn up the heat on those vulnerable Democrats up for reelection in 2012.

“Forcing a vote in the Senate would be very useful and it’s possible that a repeal could pass,” King said. “We have enough senators that are Democrats up for reelection in 2012.”

The repeal of Obamacare is just one of many fronts on which the GOP is attacking Obama’s health care overhaul. Republicans are fighting the issue in the courts and using newly elected governors and newly acquired majorities in statehouses around the country to fight Obama’s health care law.

Conservatives won a victory in the courts when U.S. Judge Henry Hudson declared part of Obamacare to be unconstitutional. Judge Roger Vinson is close to making a decision in Florida in a 20-state lawsuit led by outgoing Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum.

King said Republicans shouldn’t rely on the judicial system as the only means of repealing Obamacare, but that it certainly helps to have that victory under the GOP’s belt.

“I want to do this on all fronts,” King said. “I don’t want to leave any stone left unturned. I don’t trust the courts to find Obamacare unconstitutional, it would be great if they do, but I don’t want to wait and rest until they do.”

Another front, King said, is the plan to elect a Republican president in 2012 who is ready to sign a repeal on January 20, 2013.

Meckler offered yet another front in a phone interview, saying that states around the country can form compacts together, via Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution, in an effort to set up their own individual health care systems. Meckler told TheDC the “compact” system is ideal because each state can tailor their health care laws and system to their unique circumstances, instead having a Washington bureaucracy dictate how things should be done.

“If you’re in Massachusetts, and you have a single-payer system and you love it, this is a way to protect that system,” Meckler said. “Or, you could go the other way and have a totally free market solution in a particular state.”

Meckler said there are currently about 200 usages nationwide of Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution, ranging from prisoner agreements across state lines to sharing the water from the Colorado River.