House set for second vote to repeal Obama healthcare reform law

The Republican-led House is set on Wednesday to vote again to repeal the entire 2010 healthcare law as lawmakers respond formally to the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold President Obama’s signature domestic achievement.

While Democrats compared the move to the film “Groundhog Day,” House Republicans said the vote was in keeping with the promise they made upon taking control of the chamber in 2010. 

They also argued repealing the healthcare law would help the economy. 

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The GOP conference chairman, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (Texas), cited the law's taxes on medical devices and its mandates on employers and individuals as economic arguments for repeal. 

“There's a number of different reasons why we should repeal the president's healthcare law. But one, and most importantly, is what it's doing to jobs,” Hensarling said. “Once again, House Republicans will move to try to help create more jobs, more economic growth, more opportunity by repealing ObamaCare this week.”

The vote on Wednesday is expected to resemble the breakdown of the House’s first attempt in January 2011, but Republicans expect more Democrats to join the repeal push. Three House Democrats voted for repeal last year, and one more has announced his intent to switch sides on Wednesday.

Those four Democrats — Reps. Dan Boren (Okla.), Larry Kissell (N.C.), Mike McIntyre (N.C.) and Mike Ross (Ark.) — all voted with Republicans on Tuesday on a procedural measure setting the terms of a five-hour floor debate.

While Republicans will use Wednesday’s vote against Democrats who support the healthcare law, however, Democrats think the GOP push could hurt Republicans in the fall. 

Democrats have been seeking to play off voter fatigue on the issue — portraying Republicans as myopically focused on healthcare while the country wants to “move on.”

Recent polls suggest this strategy could find traction with some independent voters. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a slight majority of independents (51 percent) said Republicans should “move on to other national problems” and stop trying to repeal healthcare reform. Thirty-five percent said efforts to halt the law should continue.

An ABC News-Washington Post poll released Wednesday found that while voters remained split down the middle on the law itself, just one-third wanted it repealed entirely.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) criticized Republicans for holding more than 30 votes against the law in the last two years.

“This is another one of [Republicans’] message weeks devoted solely to the politics of their base and not to the growth of our economy and to helping America's working class, America's middle class,” Hoyer told reporters Tuesday. “It's all about base messaging and not about building the economy.”

Republicans acknowledged the bill is dead on arrival in the Democrat-controlled Senate, but Republicans like freshman Rep. Nan Hayworth (N.Y.) insisted the vote remained significant. 

“The vote that we will take tomorrow is not a symbolic vote. It is the will of the American people,” she said, standing alongside party leaders after a House GOP conference meeting.

Asked how Republicans could actually succeed in scrapping the law without full control of the government, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) replied, “Hope springs eternal. This law is driving up the cost of healthcare and making it harder for small businesses to hire people. This is not what the American people want.”