House Republican leaders reiterated Wednesday that they will move to repeal the entire 2010 health-care reform law if the U.S. Supreme Court fails to strike it down.
“We’ve made it pretty clear and I’ll make it clear one more time: If the court does not strike down the entire law, the House will move to repeal what’s left of it,” House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters Wednesday morning. “‘Obamacare’ is driving up the cost of health care and making it harder for small businesses to hire new workers.”
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) added that the health law “was a mistake. We would like to see the kind of health care that will allow patients to make decisions, not bureaucrats here in Washington.”
“As we know, this bill has also presented big problems for our employers,” Cantor added. “Small businessmen and women are having a difficult time keeping the lights on, much less hiring new people. ‘Obamacare’ just makes it more difficult because it makes it more expensive for these business people to create jobs.”
Beyond their general comments, neither Boehner nor Cantor provided specifics on their path forward, waiting until the court rules before spelling out any further plans. But Republican aides have said in recent weeks that the House is unlikely to vote on any significant health-care-related legislation before the November elections — other than efforts to repeal the entire law if the high court doesn’t — preferring instead to keep focused on more overt attempts to boost job creation, strip away federal regulations and renew various tax cuts.
The only specifics that leaked out of Wednesday’s weekly closed-door meeting with GOP lawmakers is that Boehner has tapped Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Tom Price (R-Ga.) to serve as the lead spokespeople for House Republicans once the court issues its ruling. Republican aides said McMorris Rodgers and Price plan to sit in the court chambers Thursday morning and then make a round of television and radio appearances to convey the conference’s thoughts on the ruling.
Democrats, who have generally defended the law in tandem, warned Wednesday that any decision striking down the law would be considered a political move by a conservative-leaning court.
“The American people already benefiting from this act are looking in eager expectation and Democrats will continue to fight on behalf of people who are in need — the more than 44 million people who were without health insurance who will be thrown back into a system where they’d have to go to the emergency room for their only care,” Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, told reporters.
Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), the Democratic caucus vice-chair, said a ruling striking down the law “will go unfortunately a long way in confirming this growing belief in the gut of the American people that the Supreme Court no longer cares so much about the constitution, it cares more about politics.”
“I hope that for the sake of the institution, which this democracy has respected since the birth of the nation, that the justices who too often play politics on the court will recognize that we have a chance to move forward abiding by the Constitution and abiding by the interest of the American people to have access to decent quality health care,” Becerra said.
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