US Congress to Vote on Health Care Law
The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives will hold a vote Wednesday to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the new national health care reform law.
The vote is taking place two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law, the signature domestic achievement of President Barack Obama's tenure. The court ruled that the key part of the law, the requirement that all Americans carry health insurance or face a fine, was constitutional, under Congress's taxing authority.
Republicans say the penalty, known as the individual mandate, amounts to a tax increase, and House Speaker John Boehner told reporters Tuesday that the law is placing an undue burden on small businesses, as well.
"The House will vote to stop the coming tax hike to make sure that small business owners have some certainty about what the tax rate is going to be, and hopefully we can begin to unleash them, so they can begin to do what they do best - grow their businesses and expand jobs," Boehner declared.
Wednesday's vote will be the 31st vote to undermine the Affordable Care Act, either through repeal or blocking funding for various provisions, since Republicans took control of the House in 2010. The current repeal effort is sure to be defeated in the Democratic-led Senate. And Obama has pledged to veto such a measure, if it reaches his desk.
The White House issued a statement this week saying repeal would amount to a "massive step backwards," and urged lawmakers to focus their efforts on restoring the economy.