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Published: Friday, January 13, 2017 @ 11:06 AM
Amid a hailstorm of verbal broadsides, Republicans in the House joined the Senate in approving a plan that lays the ground work for future GOP efforts to repeal the Obama health law, as Democrats accused the GOP trying to take away health care insurance coverage from millions of Americans.
The 227-198 vote was mainly along party lines, as nine Republicans voted against the budget outline; no Democrats joined with the GOP to vote for it.
This measure does not need the approval of the President; it merely sets in motion a variety of budget procedures, one of which will give Republicans the chance to move a bill that would repeal large chunks of the Obama health law, without the threat of a filibuster in the Senate.
"Mr. Speaker, lend me your ears; I come to bury Obamacare, not to praise it," said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL).
"The American people saw what's in it, and they don't like it," declared Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), as he joined other Republicans in demanding repeal.
"We have to step in before things get worse," said Speaker Paul Ryan, who labeled GOP repeal efforts a "rescue mission."
No Democrats voted for the Republican budget outline, as they denounced the effort.
"The American people are getting ready to get screwed," said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).
"We're going to fight you on this," said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA). "This is a fight worth having."
While the debate was mainly on the Republican campaign vow to repeal the Obama health law, this vote actually did nothing on that, instead it simply puts in place a procedural road map for those GOP efforts.
Democrats mocked the GOP for not bringing up a plan right away to replace President Obama's signature legislative achievement.
"What you're doing is throwing American families into quicksand," said Rep. Cathy Castor (D-FL).
There were also Republicans who didn't like the fact that their own party has yet to rally around one plan on how to replace the Obama health law.
"Right now we have a lot of ideas, that's true," said Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA). "We need to develop one plan, not three plans."
There were a handful of Republicans who voted against the plan, arguing that the GOP wasn't doing much to rein in rising deficits and debt.
"I support limited government, not Republican-managed big government," said Rep. Justin Amash R-MI. "I'm voting no on today's never-balanced budget."
"I voted no because I think we're moving a little too fast," said Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ). "I want to know what repeal and replace both look like."
Now that the House and Senate have both approved this procedural start, now Republicans can start drafting that repeal plan.
It won't be easy.