White House issues veto threat on ObamaCare repeal

Getty Images

The White House on Wednesday made official President Obama's intention to veto a bill to dismantle ObamaCare, hitting Republicans for “refighting old political battles.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Both sides have long known that Obama would veto a bill to gut his signature domestic achievement, but Republicans have moved forward with the process so that they can at least get the bill to his desk and make him reject it. 

They are using the fast-track process, known as reconciliation, which allows a measure to get through the Senate with 51 votes instead of the usual 60, and a vote is expected Thursday. 

“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,” the White House said in a statement. 

The administration pointed to its figure showing 17.6 million people have gained coverage under the health law, through its marketplaces, Medicaid expansion, or allowing young people to stay on their parents’ plans. 

Rolling back the Medicaid expansion has proven dicey for some Republican senators from states that have accepted the expansion and given thousands of people new coverage. But Republicans sought to address concerns by working out a system where the expansion would be phased out, possibly giving time for a replacement. 

Republicans say that they want a new Republican president in 2017 to repeal the law, but the White House is arguing that it is already entrenched. 

“The Affordable Care Act is working and is fully integrated into an improved American health care system,” the White House said. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellGiffords-backed gun control group endorses Toomey, Kirk Republicans say party can’t afford to cut ties to Trump McConnell calls for ObamaCare money to be used for Zika MORE (R-Ky.) pointed to Republicans’ Senate victory last year and the election of Republican Gov. Matt Bevin in Kentucky last month, as evidence the public opposes ObamaCare. 

“Americans across the country continue to demand a better way forward,” he said. “Americans made that clear last November. Kentuckians made that doubly clear again last month.

“This is simply the reality,” he added. “Democrats can deny it.”