McCain: GOP hopes to sidestep veto in repeal efforts

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Thursday backed a plan that he says would allow the Republicans to avoid a presidential veto while negating the effects of a new healthcare law.

The 2008 GOP presidential nominee backed a plan that would strip funding from the healthcare law, which he says would not take an override to a veto to accomplish.

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"When I say repeal, people say you're not going to be able to do it," he said on KQTH FM Radio. "I am confident we will get majorities in both houses in the fall. And that means the power of the purse...If we cut off the money, it doesn't take an override to a veto."

McCain's comments shows that GOPers are considering alternatives to strike down the healthcare law, passed with a party-line vote this month, outside of repealing it outright.

Brooke Buchanan, a McCain spokesperson told The Hill that the move would be done using "fencing language" in an appropriations bill that would get rid of the health bill funding.

But under the constitution, the president has the right to veto any bill that is passed by Congress. Yet, Buchanan said that placing the language in a large spending bill would force Obama to veto the entire legislation, suggesting that the president would rather not take that action.

The move would also be predicated on healthcare opponents winning back both houses of Congress and having enough votes in the Senate to override a filibuster.

Two Republican lawmakers this week, Rep. Mark Kirk (Ill.), who is running for Senate, and Sen. Richard Burr (N.C.), backed away from pledges they made to repeal the health law.

Some Republicans and Democrats have said that the prospect of repealing it is highly unlikely because the GOP would need to win two-thirds majorities in both houses to overcome a veto from President Barack Obama.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), a proponent of repeal, suggested a similar plan to McCain's last week.

Still, conservatives have demanded that Republican lawmakers enact a full repeal of the $940 billion measure.

Democrats have warned that pushing for repeal would doom GOPers in the fall, because it would mean they would have to advocate for an act that would take away health insurance coverage for over 30 million uninsured. 

This story was updated at 11:41 a.m.

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