Obama vetoes health bill repeal

Obama vetoes health bill repeal
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President Obama on Friday vetoed legislation that would repeal much of ObamaCare, the first such measure to reach his desk since it became law in 2010.

Obama used his veto pen without fanfare on a legislative package rolling back his signature healthcare law and stripping federal funding from Planned Parenthood.

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In a lengthy message to Congress, Obama said repealing the law would reverse improvements made in the nation’s healthcare system.
 
“Because of the harm this bill would cause to the health and financial security of millions of Americans, it has earned my veto,” the president wrote. 
 
Obama noted that congressional Republicans have attempted to roll back the law more than 50 times, to no avail.
 
“Rather than refighting old political battles by once again voting to repeal basic protections that provide security for the middle class, members of Congress should be working together to grow the economy, strengthen middle-class families, and create new jobs,” he wrote.
 
The veto was the eighth of Obama’s presidency and the sixth since last year, when Republicans took over both chambers of Congress. 

Even though Obama long threatened to veto the measure, Republicans touted the vote as an important step toward reversing the Affordable Care Act if the party wins the White House in November.

Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanDems press Trump to support ‘Buy America’ provision in water bill The Hill's 12:30 Report Ryan aide: No shift in stance on healthcare assistance MORE (R-Wis.) on Friday pledged that Congress would vote to override Obama’s veto. The party lacks the two-thirds majority necessary to achieve that, however.

“It’s no surprise that someone named Obama vetoed a bill repealing Obamacare. But we will hold a vote to override this veto, taking this process all the way to the end under the Constitution,” Ryan said in a statement. 

Ryan said the vote showed there is a “clear path” for Republicans to repeal the law.

“The idea that Obamacare is the law of the land for good is a myth. This law will collapse under its own weight, or it will be repealed,” he said. “We have now shown that there is a clear path to repealing Obamacare without 60 votes in the Senate. So, next year, if we’re sending this bill to a Republican president, it will get signed into law.”

The votes to attempt overriding the president's veto are expected to take place later this month and potentially coincide with the date of the annual March for Life. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) made a motion on the House floor Friday afternoon to postpone action on the veto until Jan. 26.

In getting the reconciliation bill to Obama's desk, Republicans were able to skirt a Democratic filibuster in the Senate by using a budget process called reconciliation, which allows legislation to pass the upper chamber with a simple majority. 

The House voted mostly along party lines 240-181 on Wednesday to approve the legislation. It cleared the Senate in December. 

The GOP also hoped the vote would help them dictate the political agenda in the early weeks of 2016. 

But the vote was overshadowed by Obama’s rollout of new executive actions on guns, which were also designed to set the tone for Democrats heading into election season.

The legislation does not repeal all of ObamaCare, because the reconciliation rules forced Republicans to choose certain elements to eliminate. 

The bill still attacks core parts of the law, including an expansion of Medicaid and federal subsidies to help people purchase health insurance. 

It also scraps mandates on individuals to buy insurance and employers to provide it, as well as a litany of taxes, including levies on medical devices and high-cost plans, known as the “Cadillac Tax.”

Peter Sullivan and Cristina Marcos contributed to this report. This story was updated at 1:22 p.m.