House to vote again on repealing ‘Obamacare’ next week

May 8, 2013

The House will vote again next week to repeal the 2010 health-care reform law, a decision by top Republican leaders designed in part to appease GOP freshmen lawmakers who have not had an opportunity to take a vote on the issue.


House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

House Majority Leader Eric I. Cantor (R-Va.), who sets the House schedule, announced on Twitter on Wednesday that the vote will occur next week: "It just keeps getting worse. I am scheduling a vote for next week on the full repeal of #Obamacare."

Cantor's decision to schedule the vote comes as he's devoted most of the House calendar in recent months to a series of bills that fit within his "making life work" agenda that emphasizes kitchen-table issues over slashing federal spending. Among such bills is the "Working Families Flexibility Act," which would give private employers the option of offering workers additional time off in lieu of overtime pay and is set for a vote Wednesday.

Cantor had to pull another bill, called the "Helping Sick Americans Now Act," two weeks ago amid opposition from conservatives who didn't like that the measure would redistribute millions of dollars in funding established by the health-care law, but not repeal the entire law.

Several Republican aides say that Cantor's decision to hold a vote on repealing the law will serve two mutually beneficial purposes for House Republicans: It will give about 30 House GOP freshmen who've never voted on such a bill the opportunity to do so — and then likely secure Cantor enough support to finally pass the "Helping Sick Americans Now Act." In turn, those freshmen will be able to go home and tell constituents that they've voted to repeal the unpopular law, and Cantor will have succeeded in advancing his agenda.

Depending on which congressional aides are asked, next week's vote will be anywhere between the 33rd or 37th attempt to repeal all or part of the law since its passage in 2010. The count is disputed because Republican House and Senate lawmakers have tried in vain to use a series of legislative gimmicks — procedural moves, budgeting provisions and outright legislation — to undo the law.

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Ed O'Keefe | May 8, 2013