Cantor: House to vote on ObamaCare alternative in 2014

Cantor: House to vote on ObamaCare alternative in 2014
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CAMBRIDGE, Md. — House Republicans will vote on an alternative to ObamaCare in 2014, Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorHillicon Valley: GOP leader wants Twitter CEO to testify on bias claims | Sinclair beefs up lobbying during merger fight | Facebook users experience brief outage | South Korea eyes new taxes on tech Sinclair hired GOP lobbyists after FCC cracked down on proposed Tribune merger California wildfires prompt deficit debate in Congress MORE (R-Va.) announced to members at their annual retreat Thursday morning.

"This year, we will rally around an alternative to ObamaCare and pass it on the floor of the House,” Cantor said during a presentation in which he outlined four areas — healthcare, jobs, helping the middle class and creating opportunities — where Republicans would offer “big, bold ideas.”

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The news, according a Republican leadership aide in the room, drew applause from lawmakers, who have pushed the GOP leadership to embrace a Republican healthcare plan nearly four years after Obama signed his signature policy achievement into law.

Several members stood up to support Cantor’s announcement and urged the party to focus on issues that speak directly to people’s lives.

“We need to show people we care,” Rep. Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzMatt Schlapp: Trump's policies on Russia 'two or three times tougher than anything' under Obama Tucker Carlson: Ruling class cares more about foreigners than their own people Fox's Kennedy chides Chaffetz on child migrants: 'I’m sure these mini rapists all have bombs strapped to their chests' MORE (Utah) said during the meeting.

Cantor did not endorse a specific proposal among the many that individual lawmakers have introduced. A slide presentation that accompanied his speech cited four “solutions” that Republicans have long embraced: high-risk pools, allowing insurance to be purchased across state lines, medical liability reform and expanded health savings accounts.

A separate memo from the conference outlined guiding principles for a Republican plan, including affordability, provider choice and medical innovation. 

The various GOP proposals include plans by Rep. Tom Price (Ga.) and a separate measure introduced by the conservative Republican Study Committee.

RSC Chairman Steve Scalise (La.) applauded Cantor’s announcement.

“It’s less relevant whose name is on the bill as what’s in the bill,” Scalise said.

The decision comes as House Republicans are seeking to come up with a more positive agenda amid complaints from lawmakers and strategists that they have become too often defined by what they are against as opposed to what they are for.

“I think in order to maximize this year, it’s important that we show the American people that we’re not just the opposition party, we’re actually the alternative party,” Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerWomen poised to take charge in Dem majority Freedom Caucus ponders weakened future in minority Consultant to Virginia Senate candidate compared GOP establishment to 'house negro': report MORE (Ohio) told reporters Thursday morning. “Republicans have to do more to talk about the better solutions that we think we have that will help the American people grow their wages, have opportunities to have a better job and clearly have a better shot at the American dream.”

Democrats have long hammered Republicans for stalling on their promise not only to repeal but to “replace” ObamaCare, and in his State of the Union address, the president mocked the House for holding dozens of votes to scrap the law without putting forward an alternative.

“The first 40 were plenty,” Obama said. “We all owe it to the American people to say what we're for, not just what we're against.” 

This story was updated at 4:39 p.m.