Cantor calls again for health reform repeal

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Monday reiterated his call to repeal the Democrats’ healthcare reform law and replace it with a GOP alternative. 

“What we’ll do is continue to say, ‘We’ve got to repeal the stuff in this bill,’” the minority whip said on CNBC’s Squawk Box. “We’ve got to repeal the bill and replace it, though, because no one’s accepting the status quo. OK? So repeal this bill.”

The comments are the latest indication that, despite polls indicating a rising popularity for the reforms, Republican leaders intend to pound away at the law on the campaign trail this year in hopes that the GOP’s unified opposition will win them seats in the midterms. 

Also appearing on the show, Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.) — the senior Republican on the Budget Committee — criticized Congress for failing earlier in the year to create a deficit commission designed to tackle the country’s debt crisis. Gregg has long been a sponsor of a bill to do just that, but the Senate in January killed that proposal after six GOP cosponsors voted against their own bill.

After the bill died, the White House stepped in to create its own deficit commission. But Gregg said Monday he’s doubtful that the bipartisan panel — which requires the consensus of 14 of the 18 members to propose reforms — has the teeth to be effective. 

“Congress should try to do it without kicking the ball over to a commission,” Gregg said. “The commission hopefully will be constructive and will hopefully come up with something substantive. But that’s a hope and a prayer exercise, to be very honest with you.” 

“I hope it works, but you know, you’ve got to get 14 of 18 votes to accomplish something big.”