Grassley: Health repeal will die in Senate

GOP Sen. Charles Grassley (Iowa) admitted Wednesday that a full repeal of President Obama's healthcare law will die in the Senate.

Speaking to Iowa radio station KCIM, the current ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee conceded that Senate Republicans do not have the 60 votes necessary to force through a full repeal.

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"I think the House will pass a repeal of the ObamaCare. But I believe it will die in the Senate because there's not 60 votes in the Senate for it," he said. "And even if it passed Congress, I think the president would veto it and so we wouldn't get two-thirds to ride the veto."

Republicans have long acknowledged Obama would veto a repeal bill, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the day following the elections that his caucus would attempt to completely roll back the healthcare overhaul.

The Iowa senator, who won a sixth term last Tuesday, is among the first GOP lawmakers to admit that a repeal would not make it past the Senate.

Although the GOP swept the Democrats out of power in the House, they only picked up six Senate seats, meaning Democrats will return to the Capitol next year still in control of the upper chamber.

That means that even if the House passed a repeal bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who survived a scare from Tea Party-backed challenger Sharron Angle (R) in his reelection bid, would have the power to not bring the legislation up for a vote. 

Grassley's comments mirror the remarks of White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, who said two days after the election that the Senate would likely halt a repeal

At his postmortem press conference, Obama said he would not "re-litigate" the healthcare law, but he said he would be open to slight changes, like altering the tax filing provisions for small businesses.

Grassley expressed hope that a gradual repeal would be more successful.

"I think you're going to have bits and pieces of it brought up that maybe we can win a small victory here and there," he said.