WASHINGTON — For the first time since Republicans won back control of Congress in November, lawmakers will get to vote on a bill that repeals President Obama’s health care law.
The House on Tuesday will vote on H.R. 596, which would repeal Obamacare and then direct House committees to submit “an alternative, patient-centered solution to help fix our health care system,” according to the bill’s sponsor.
After it passes the House, GOP aides say they hope the new Republican Senate will take up the legislation. While the GOP-led House has repeatedly voted over the last few years to repeal the law, the Democratic-controlled Senate has not.
The bill does not have any chance of being implemented into law: Democrats in the Senate could still stop it, and even if it made it onto the president’s desk, he would veto it.
But despite the bill’s certain defeat, Republicans say it’s important to allow the new Congress to vote on it.
“This vote is notable because it will be the first time since Republicans have taken control of the Senate that the House will act on a bill to repeal ObamaCare,” says Alabama Rep. Bradley Byrne, the sponsor of the bill. “Senator Harry Reid can no longer stand in the way of allowing a vote on repealing this law once and for all.”
“This also marks the first time the House has voted to repeal the failed law since it has been fully implemented,” the Republican said. “This year hardworking taxpayers are fully realizing just how many different areas this law touches ranging from new tax requirements and penalties to higher deductibles to canceled plans.”
Democrats are already mocking the bill, pointing out the near 60 times Republicans have held some sort of vote on doing away with Obamacare in parts and whole.
“Happy #GroundhogDay,” House Democratic whip Steny Hoyer wrote on Twitter on Monday. “House Republicans will celebrate with their 56th vote to undermine or repeal the ACA.”
Meanwhile, conservative groups are instructing members to vote for the bill. “As we have written in previous key vote alerts, this healthcare law betrays the principles of limited government and individual liberty that our founding fathers relied on when they crafted the Constitution,” Club for Growth vice president of government affairs Andy Roth wrote in an email to lawmakers. “It hinders growth, includes an unprecedented individual mandate to buy insurance, raises taxes, and massively increases the size of government.”