Boehner: No 'artificial' timeline needed to replace health law

There is no need for a timeline to replace the healthcare reform law, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Wednesday morning, hours before House Republicans are expected to vote to repeal it.

The GOP has taken flak from Democrats in recent weeks because of the new House majority’s plan to repeal the reform law without replacing some of its more popular consumer protections. Republican House leaders have maintained that the new committees must begin their work before details of a replacement bill can be hashed out.

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“I don’t know that we need artificial deadlines set up for the committees,” Boehner told reporters. “We expect them to act in a official way, allowing all of their members on their committees to be heard – Democrats and Republicans.”

On Thursday, Republicans will vote on a resolution instructing several committees to consider replacements to the reform law.

But first, the House is scheduled Wednesday evening to vote on what is considered a symbolic gesture to repeal the reform law. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has promised to block the bill, and President Obama said he would veto it if it unexpectedly lands on his desk.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), a day after challenging Reid to hold a repeal vote on the Senate floor, declined to say whether he thinks vulnerable Democrats up for reelection in 2012 would vote in favor of repeal.

But he told reporters that Reid should allow a vote if he’s confident the Senate, which has slimmer 53-47 Democratic advantage this Congress, will reject the repeal measure.

“If they have the votes, let’s see them,” Cantor said.