The Republican led-House took another step toward repealing Democrats’ health-care law with a Friday morning procedural vote to set the ground rules for debate on the repeal’s final passage next Wednesday.
Under the rules for debate, which passed by 236-181, Republicans will not allow Democrats to propose amendments, but will provide for seven hours of debate. Four Democrats, Mike Ross of Arkansas, Dan Boren of Oklahoma, Mike Mcintyre and Larry Kissell of North Carolina, voted for the rules.
Republicans will also not put the two-page bill to pass through the regular committee process, which will allow for swift passage next week.
Once the bill passes the House, it will most likely die there. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, affirmed Thursday that he would not even put the measure to a vote in his chamber, and the White House made clear this week that President Obama would immediately veto the bill.
Despite the virtual impossibility of the bill becoming law, House Republican leaders defended their choice to spend time putting it to a vote.
“The bill is in no way symbolic,” said New York Republican Rep. Nan Hayworth on the House floor Friday morning. “It represents the will of the American people.”
“I believe it’s our responsibility to do what we say we’re going to do,” House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio Republican, told reporters Thursday.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported this week that repealing the health care bill would add $230 billion to the federal deficit over 10 years, a figure Republican leaders disputed.
Despite the possibility of a few Democrats defecting and voting for repeal next week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said her caucus was overwhelmingly united on opposing full repeal.
“Democrats will judge what comes before Congress by whether it creates jobs, strengthens our middle class, and reduces the deficit,” Pelosi said in a statement Friday. “On all three of these tests, the repeal of patients’ rights fails.”