House set for health care law repeal vote
(CBS News) The House of Representatives will vote this week to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law. The vote, which was announced by House Republican leaders immediately following the U.S. Supreme Court's health care ruling, will be the 31st time the Republican House will have voted to repeal or defund all, or part, of the Affordable Care Act.
But the move, like most of the votes before, will lead to nothing. The Democratic Senate won't consider it. And even if a sprinkle of magic fairy dust fell over the Capitol dome, and the House and Senate somehow agreed to repeal the law, Mr. Obama has the ultimate say with his veto pen.
That could all change next January depending on November's election results. The Supreme Court ruled that the heart of the health care law, the individual mandate, is constitutional, but that does not mean Congress can't change the law in the future. Of course, repealing the law won't be easy and many things would have to fall in just the right place for Republicans to get their way.
Here's the list of the many events that would need to take place for Republicans to succeed in repealing the law before key provisions are fully implemented in 2014:
Mitt Romney wins in November
As mentioned earlier, the president has veto power to strike down any law Congress passes. Congress can override a presidential veto, but it needs two-thirds of both the House and Senate to vote in favor of doing so. Congress has only overridden seven vetoes in the past two decades. Even if Republicans take all of Congress but President Obama stays in the White House, the health care law would stay in place as Democrats envisioned the law.
Republicans take the Senate - and win BIG
One quirk of the Senate that House members from both parties bemoan on a regular basis is that it usually takes 60 votes to do almost anything in the Senate. Want to bring a bill to the floor? Takes 60. Want to end debate? Takes 60. These are the big votes. The final vote on passage is usually an afterthought if senators are able to clear that 60-vote threshold. The current breakdown of the Senate is 51 Democrats, 47 Republicans, and 2 independents that caucus with the Democrats. That means Republicans would need to pick up at least 13 seats for a filibuster-proof majority. While it is possible Republicans could take the four seats needed for a majority in the Senate, no one is predicting they will win so many seats that they would have what's known as a "super majority" with 60 Republicans. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell told a local Rotary Club audience recently that repealing the health care law would be the first item on the agenda if they win the Senate, but repeal won't be that easy.
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