The House of Representatives voted 244 to 185 Wednesday to again repeal the entirety of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, further showing the deep rift between Democrats and Republicans in Congress.
The measure will likely not clear the Democrat-led Senate and is subjected to Obama’s veto powers if it ever makes it to his desk, meaning that the House vote was mainly a symbolic gesture. Numerous repeal measures were passed in the House in 2011.
The move comes just two weeks after the Supreme Court upheld key provisions of the health care bill.
All Republicans supported the vote, with five Democrats breaking ranks to also vote in favor of repealing the measure.
It was the 33rd time that the House voted to shoot down at least parts of the measure, and the second time the legislative body tried to repeal it in full, showing their disdain for the bill passed in early 2010.
Most House Democrats panned the move, saying there is no chance it will be approved by the Senate. Rhode Island Democratic Congressman David Cicilline said it is another effort by Republicans in “putting our country through yet another divisive political battle.”
Other Democrats said the Supreme Court has already settled arguments over the bill and that it is time to go ahead with implementing it.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday attempted to focus attention on job growth, saying the GOP is wasting the chamber’s time “on this useless ‘bill to nowhere.’” Republicans, she added, are taking their eye off the economy and are not offering their own replacement health care plan.
But Republican House Speaker John Boehner said that the bill needs to be pulled because “it is making our economy worse, driving up costs, and making it harder for small businesses to hire new workers.”
Veteran Texas Republican lawmaker Lamar Smith said, “Only when Obamacare is fully repealed can we enact real reforms that reduce health care costs without raising taxes or restricting the rights of Americans,” hinting that his party will continue to vote to repeal the measure.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he will try to force the upper chamber of Congress to hold a vote on the House measure. “I have filed a repeal amendment,” he said on Wednesday.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor claimed the Supreme Court’s recent decision shows that the law essentially imposes a tax penalty on Americans who do not buy insurance by 2014, saying that Wednesday’s repeal vote was necessary in preventing this from occurring.
“Well, we now know, the Supreme Court has spoken: It is a tax. It’s time to stop all the broken promises and get back to the kind of health care people in this country want,” he said.
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