Updated 4:31 p.m. Eastern Time
Every Republican in the Senate has now agreed to cosponsor Senator Jim DeMint's (R-SC) bill to repeal the sweeping health care reform bill signed into law last March, CBS News has confirmed.
DeMint's office said Monday morning that it did not yet have the support of Republican Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Thad Cochran (Miss.), Susan Collins (Maine) and Chuck Grassley (Iowa). By the end of the day, all four had signed on as cosponsors.
The GOP-led House passed a bill to repeal the law on January 19th. The vote was seen as largely symbolic, however, since the measure was given little chance to get through the Democrat-led Senate.
Though Tea Party-aligned DeMint has gotten every Republican to sign onto his effort, he stills lack a majority in the Senate - let alone the 60-vote supermajority necessary to overcome a filibuster. Even if DeMint were to win over ten of the Democrats - an extremely unlikely proposition - he would still not have enough votes to break a filibuster. In addition, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is under no obligation to introduce the measure.Continue »
More Americans want to keep the sweeping health care reform legislation passed last year than want to repeal it, according to a new CBS News/New York Times survey. Forty-eight percent of Americans say they want to keep the law in place, while 40 percent want to see it repealed.
Republicans campaigned on repealing the bill in the run-up to the midterm elections, and one of the first actions of the new GOP-led House was to pass a repeal bill.
Unsurprisingly, Americans are split on the issue along party lines. Seventy-three percent of Republicans favor repeal, compared to just 16 percent of Democrats. Seventy-seven percent of Democrats want to keep the law, compared to just 16 percent of Republicans. Independents favor keeping it by a small margin, 45 percent to 38 percent.
Among those who do favor repeal, 50 percent say they want the law repealed in full. Forty-four percent want only certain parts of it repealed.
Thirty-five percent of those who favor repeal said they would not want to see the law overturned if it meant insurers would not be required to cover people with pre-existing medical conditions. Fifty-two percent said they would still favor repeal even if that is the case.Continue »
The poll finds forty-three percent of Americans believe the most important thing for the new Congress to focus on is job creation - compared to just 18 percent who say the top priority should be health care. Fourteen percent chose the federal budget deficit, 12 percent the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and seven percent illegal immigration. Respondents were presented with a list of options.
The poll also found that a majority of Americans polled - 56 percent - do not believe the health care bill's impact on themselves and their families has been clearly explained. Only 41 percent say it has been explained somewhat or very well, including just one in ten who say it has been explained very well.Continue »
One day after voting to repeal the Democrats' health care law, the House of Representatives voted to begin replacing the legislation.
The resolution that passed Thursday morning does not include any deadlines or mandates. It just tells four relevant committees with jurisdiction over health-care related issues to start working on it. It also provides some broad goals like making sure that the legislation fosters "economic growth and private sector job creation by eliminating job-killing policies and regulations."
In the afternoon, the four committee chairmen told reporters that the work begins now.
"Today is Day One of our efforts to replace Obamacare with something better, a lot better," new Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., said.
Upton said one of the first efforts his committee will take is to allow individuals to purchase health insurance across state lines.
"Competition does work, we know that, and we should allow it to work for health insurance as well," he said, before asking why consumers can buy auto insurance anywhere but health care is restricted to within a state.Continue »
Updated 6:22 p.m. Eastern Time
The GOP-led House voted late Wednesday afternoon to repeal the sweeping health care overhaul legislation passed last year by congressional Democrats and signed into law by President Obama.
The vote, which fulfills a Republican campaign pledge from the midterm elections, will likely have no substantive impact. That's because there is virtually no chance the Democrat-led Senate will take up the bill or that Mr. Obama would sign it.
Still, Republicans insisted before the vote that their action was not in vain. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who said the law amounts to "the crown jewel of socialism," said House Republicans "have a message" for those "who think this may be a symbolic act."
"This is not symbolic, this is why we were sent here," she said, "and we will not stop until we repeal a president and put a president in the position of the White House who will repeal this bill, until we repeal the current Senate, put in a Senate that will listen to the American people and repeal this bill."
The final vote tally was 245 to 189 in favor of repeal, with three Democrats voting with the Republican majority. The three Democrats voting for repeal were Rep. Dan Boren (OK), Rep. Mike McIntyre (NC) and Rep. Mike Ross (AR), all of whom voted against the health care bill last year. Ten Democrats who voted against the bill last year and won reelection declined to vote to repeal it.
No Republicans voted against repeal. The only member not to vote on the bill was Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, who is recovering from an assassination attempt.
Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, a Republican and founder of the Tea Party Caucus in the House, today cast last year's health care reform law - "Obamacare" to its critics - as "the crown jewel of socialism."
The controversial Bachmann, who is said to be considering a 2012 presidential run, made the comments during debate on a bill to repeal the health care legislation. The repeal bill is expected to easily pass the GOP-led House but stall in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
Bachmann and her colleagues insist, however, that the vote is not just symbolic, and she vowed yesterday that "we aren't going to just check the box off and say we had one vote and we're going to move on to other topics." Pointing to what she called the "arrogance" of Democrats, she said Republicans would work in the short term to defund the bill so that it cannot effectively be implemented.
In her remarks on the floor Wednesday afternoon, Bachmann said the health care law - which does not include a government option - amounted to "socialized medicine."Continue »
After a week-long delay in the wake of the mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz., Republicans in the House are getting their shot at repealing the Democrats' health care overhaul. Debate on a Republican bill to repeal the reforms will start -- and likely end -- this week. But today also marks the beginning of a long, renewed debate over health care that is expected to extend through the 2012 elections.
House Speaker John Boehner kicked off a few hours of debate today on a repeal bill, and a vote on the measure will likely take place Wednesday afternoon.
A blog post on the Speaker's website says that tomorrow, "the House will vote on legislation to repeal the job-destroying health care law, giving Congress a 'clean sheet of paper' to develop real health care solutions that will lower costs and protect American jobs, as recommended by these economists and experts." (Note that in the wake of Tucson, the description of the bill has been tweaked from "job killing" to "job destroying.")
The repeal bill is expected to die in the Democrat-led Senate, but the vote gives House Republicans an opportunity to fulfill their campaign pledge to work to undo health care reform legislation. And by instructing House committees to draft a "replace" bill, Republicans can argue they are working to maintain the bill's most popular provisions even as they overturn the bill as a whole.
Yet the renewed health care battle has also put Democrats on the offensive, as they see a new opportunity to sell their reform package to the public.
Democrats organized a series of news conferences today to promote the popular provisions in the health care laws. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius held a news conference this morning on her department's new study showing that as many as 129 million Americans under age 65 have some pre-existing medical condition.Continue »
Former Vice President Dick Cheney's three decades of heart trouble and five heart attacks have left him and his doctors with a very serious decision to make; is his externally-powered, state-of-the-art heart pump sufficient to keep his ticker ticking, or should the soon-to-be 70-year-old get a transplant.
In an interview with NBC News set to be aired Tuesday, Cheney says he hasn't "made a decision yet."
He touts the battery-powered pump currently used to boost blood flow around his body as a "wondrous device. It's really a miracle of modern technology."
The Left Ventricular Assist Device is usually implanted as a stopgap measure to keep patients healthy until a heart transplant can be preformed.
"What's happened over time is the technology's gotten better and better and we've gotten more and more experience with people living with this technology. So I'll have to make a decision at some point whether or not I want to go for a transplant. But we haven't addressed that yet," Cheney says in the interview.Continue »
The House of Representatives will consider the bill to repeal President Obama's health care overhaul next week, the office of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said today.
The new Republican majority initially planned to consider the repeal bill this week as one of its first orders of business. However, this week's regular plans were put on hold after the mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz. that left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in critical condition.
"As the White House noted, it is important for Congress to get back to work, and to that end we will resume thoughtful consideration of the health care bill next week," Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring said in a statement. "Americans have legitimate concerns about the cost of the new health care law and its effect on the ability to grow jobs in our country. It is our expectation that the debate will continue to focus on those substantive policy differences surrounding the new law."
A detailed schedule for debate will be released tomorrow.
The language used by Dayspring stands in stark contrast to the rhetoric Republicans used to describe the health care bill before the Tucson tragedy. Republicans had repeatedly referred to health care reforms as "job killing," and even named their repeal bill the "Repeal of the Jon-Killing Health Care Bill Act."
"The job-killing health care law was passed over the objections of the American people, and they have continued to speak out against it, loudly and clearly," House Speaker John Boehner said last Friday.
In an apparent acknowledgment of calls to change the tone in Washington, that language has been toned down. While Republicans still show opposition to the bill, they are now discussing "legitimate concerns" that requires "thoughtful consideration."
That stands in stark contrast to Cantor's vow on Saturday, before the shootings, "to fulfill our pledge to repeal the trillion dollar job-killing health care law that was rammed through Congress last year by the previous majority - despite the public outcry against it."
Next week, House Republicans will get their first opportunity to pass repeal of health care reform. And even though the GOP is in the majority, House Democrats aren't throwing in the towel just yet.
On Friday's "Washington Unplugged," Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) told CBS News political analyst John Dickerson, "We've got to take a stand and defend the health care provisions that will make a big difference to the American people."
Welch, Vermont's lone House member, is leading the effort to file amendments which would exempt certain provisions from repeal -- including coverage of individuals up to age 26 on their parents' health care plans, denying coverage to those with preexisting conditions, free preventative care for seniors and the elimination of lifetime limits on care.Continue »
Updated 3:13 p.m. Eastern Time
If enacted, House Republicans' bill to repeal President Obama's health care reform legislation would increase the deficit by roughly $230 billion through 2021, according to a preliminary analysis of the legislation by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
The CBO has not completed a full analysis of the repeal bill. Aware that the bill will soon be considered, however - the vote is set for January 12th - CBO director Douglas W. Elmendorf sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner outlining the organization's preliminary analysis.
The fact that Republicans have rushed to vote on the repeal legislation without waiting for a CBO score (or hearings or other input) has been a sore spot for Democrats. But they can now point to the preliminary analysis, which finds that through 2019, repealing the bill would increase the budget deficit by $145 billion - a figure that Elmendorf writes likely won't significantly change in the final analysis. (The $230 billion figure comes when you add the estimated $80-90 billion costs of repeal over the 2020-2021 period.)
In the rules package they passed yesterday, Republicans exempted the costs of repealing the health care bill from requirements about addressing increases in federal spending. They maintain that CBO estimates that health care reform reduces the deficit resulted from "budget gimmickry," as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said on CBS' "The Early Show" this morning.
House Speaker John Boehner said Republicans planned to release a report Thursday showcasing how the health care law "is already destroying jobs in this country." (Update: Here it is.)
"When you look at it dollar by dollar, you can tell that the numbers just don't add up," he said at a press conference Thursday morning.
Boehner also said the CBO, which is widely seen as fair and impartial by lawmakers in both parties, is "entitled to their opinion." He argued that CBO could not provide a full accounting of the costs of the bill because the legislation did not take into account the "doc fix" or necessary discretionary spending.
Here's how the CBO explains its findings in the letter:
"The March health care legislation contained a set of provisions designed to expand health insurance coverage, which CBO and [Joint Committee on Taxation] estimated would have a gross cost of about $930 billion and a net cost (after accounting for certain related changes in outlays and revenues) of about $780 billion over the 2012-2019 period. Repealing that legislation would eliminate such costs. But [the health care legislation] also included a number of provisions to reduce federal outlays (primarily for Medicare) and to increase federal revenues (mostly by increasing the Hospital Insurance payroll tax and imposing fees on certain manufacturers and insurers); in March, CBO and JCT estimated that those provisions unrelated to insurance coverage would, on balance, reduce direct spending by about $500 billion and increase revenues by about $410 billion over the 2012-2019 period. If that legislation was repealed, such reductions in spending and increases in revenues would not occur. Thus, H.R. 2 would, on net, increase federal deficits over that period."
In response to the letter, Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Pete Stark (D-Calif.) released a statement hammering the repeal effort.Continue »
On CBS' "The Early Show" this morning, the newly-minted House Majority Leader Eric Cantor reiterated the GOP's priority to repeal health care reform as one of its first congressional acts, arguing that the bill is a "job killer" and that it is costing the American people "over $1 trillion."
"Republicans are committed to cutting spending every single day here in this Congress. And we're also committed to cutting the job killing regulations that have accompanied the health care bill and many others," Cantor told "Early Show" co-anchor Erica Hill. "Next week, what we'll see on the floor is a bill to repeal the health care bill. It's important, I think, to remember that most Americans don't like the health care bill."
Cantor also disputed the claim, put forth by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, that the health care reform bill passed by Congress last year will actually reduce the deficit by $143 billion, calling the figure "budget gimmickry. "
"I think what we do know is the health care bill costs over $1 trillion," Cantor told Hill. "And we know it was full of budget gimmickry. And it spends money we don't have in this country."Continue »
originally appeared on Slate.
It was a twilight day. Power has transferred, but the titles haven't yet. At a press conference Pelosi was as determined as her walk. " I don't really look back. I look forward," she said when asked to reflect on her speakership. Steny Hoyer, No. 2 in the Democratic leadership, was less formal. He congratulated Eric Cantor, the Republican who now holds his job as majority leader, for "taking a title I really liked having. You can keep calling me that if you want." Later, Hoyer held a briefing just before Cantor was scheduled to have one in the fancier offices that the majority gets. Hoyer joked to reporters that he would cut his remarks short so they wouldn't miss Cantor. "You'll want to hear what's really going on," he said.
The parties have switched not only offices but arguments. Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Republicans were going to spend "countless hours trying to repeal health care reform rather than focusing on jobs, the economy and deficit reduction. Every minute wasted on trying to repeal health care reform fruitlessly is one less minute the Republicans will spend on job creation and turning this economy around." If that sentiment sounds familiar, it's because it was a Republican refrain during the House's debate over health care in 2009 and 2010.Continue »
On CBSNews.com's "Washington Unplugged" on Tuesday, five-term Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn defended GOP efforts to repeal health care reform, calling it something "we have to do."
"Our constituents tell us this is a job killer," Blackburn told CBS News Congressional Correspondent Nancy Cordes. "They also want us to focus on reducing what the government spends - reducing the size of the federal government and putting the American people back to work."
House Republicans announced on Monday a vote to repeal health care reform legislation next Wednesday. While actual repeal is unlikely, the vote will show the GOP base that Republicans are at least trying to follow through on their campaign promises to repeal what they derisively call "Obamacare." (While the necessary votes may be there to pass a repeal in the House, the effort has almost no chance of getting through the Senate, which the Democrats still control.)
Blackburn dismissed the notion that voters might object to the elimination of some of health care reform's more popular provisions, among them the rule that young adults can stay on their parents' health care plans through age 26 and the expansion of drug coverage to millions of senior citizens.
"What they're doing is picking out a couple provisions where there was agreement on moving forward," Blackburn said. "What we're going to do is replace that bill with something that is going to be more focused on the doctor-patient relationship, more business-friendly for employers and employees."Continue »
In a news conference on Tuesday, outgoing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi stood by House Democrats' performance over the last two years, stating flatly: "We have no regrets." Pelosi said that responsibility for unmet goals during the last Congress lie at the feet Republican senators.
Responding to a question about whether she was concerned about Congress's ability to address job creation and the national debt, Pelosi said House Democrats had done everything in their power to move forward on those issues.
"We in the House of Representatives have on any number of occasions sent very positive paid-for jobs initiatives to the United States Senate, where they were held up by Republicans in the Senate," Pelosi told reporters. "So, no, we have no regrets."Continue »