The House this evening rejected a Democratic attempt to derail the healthcare repeal bill, H.R. 2, and prepared for final House passage of the repeal legislation.
A little after 5:00 p.m., House Democrats proposed that the bill be sent back to three House committees and be altered to say that the repeal of last year's healthcare bill will not take effect until a majority of House and Senate members agree not to enroll in federal health insurance. Rep. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.) said repeal should not happen unless most members agree to abandon their own coverage.
"Congress should live by the same rule it imposes on everyone else," said Andrews. "There are serious consequences of this bill and we believe that repealing it is unfair and just plain wrong. It would even be more wrong for those who support the repeal to live by a different standard."
House Republicans rejected the link between the repeal bill and their own health insurance, and voted against the Democratic proposal. "This is an attempt to derail the appeal of Obamacare," said Cantor. "The question before this body is simple. Do you support the new healthcare law. Yes or no?"
The result was a mostly party-line vote against the resolution of 185-245, although five Democrats also voted against the motion: Reps. Dan Boren (D-Okla.), Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Mike Ross (D-Ark.), Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.).
The House is now moving to a final vote on repeal. While the two-days of debate has reopened the fierce debate over federal health policy, the Senate is not expected to take up H.R. 2 after House passage, and House Republicans will turn to proposals for changing existing law later in the year.
Updated at 6:15 p.m.