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Entries in Repeal (13)

Wednesday
Jul112012

House Votes to Repeal the Affordable Care Act

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The House of Representatives voted today to repeal the Affordable Care Act. It was the 33rd time Republicans have voted to chip away at, defund, or repeal the health care law. Democrats called the move a political charade since the repeal law has no chance of becoming law this year.

But leading into the Supreme Court’s health care decision on June 28, Speaker John Boehner vowed to repeal anything that the justices left standing.

“We’ve made it pretty clear and I’ll make it clear one more time: If the court does not strike down the entire law, the House will move to repeal what’s left of it,” Boehner, R-Ohio, pledged the day before the ruling. “Obamacare is driving up the cost of health care and making it harder for small businesses to hire new workers.”

Thirteen days after the historic decision upholding the law, Boehner and the House Republicans made good on that promise. But it was a symbolic gesture. The repeal bill faces a Democratic double road-block in the form of the Senate and White House.

The House vote was largely along party lines – 244 – 185. Five House Democrats – all of whom opposed the law when it passed in 2010 – crossed party lines to vote with the majority. No Republicans defected on the vote.

Democrats have admitted that there are areas of the law that need some refining, but stand by the individual mandate, which the court determined was constitutional under the legislative branch’s power to tax, and intend to make the law a central part of their campaign dialogue.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun292012

The Reality of Repealing Obama's Health Care Law

MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Within minutes of the Supreme Court's ruling to uphold the president's health care law on Thursday, both Congressional Republicans and the GOP's presumptive presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, vowed to repeal the law as well.

But can they?

If Romney wins the White House, his power to gut or eliminate the law is severely limited without the help of Congress. And with slim odds that the GOP will win a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, congressional Republicans face a steep climb to repeal the president's signature law.

Such long odds have not deterred the law's opponents, though. After the Supreme Court ruled on the health care law, House Republicans quickly promised that they will once again act to repeal the law in its entirety July 11.

That vote is expected to pass easily, much like when the House first voted for repeal Jan. 19, 2011, approving the measure 245-189. House Republicans have already voted 30 times to disrupt, dismantle, defund and repeal provisions in the health care law. No similar attempts have passed in the Senate.

After Chief Justice John Roberts announced the decision Thursday morning, Mitt Romney rushed to the National Mall, with the Capitol Dome perched over his shoulder, to promise to repeal the law on Day One of a Romney presidency.

"What the court did not do in its last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected president of the United States," Romney pledged. "I will act to repeal Obamacare."

The "act" in Romney's sentence might be the key word. He cannot, as president, use an executive order to single-handedly repeal a law that was passed by Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court. But there are three possible ways Romney could go after the Affordable Care Act using executive power, said Michael Dorf, a constitutional law scholar at Cornell Law School.

First, Romney could direct the departments charged with administering the law to grant the states any and all waivers that were written into the law. Because there aren't many of these waivers and those that do exist don't take effect for years, this method would not disable the law quickly enough to appease the GOP and meet his Day One timeframe.

Second, he could instruct his administration not to enforce the law. This tactic is similar to Obama's decision that his administration would no longer deport undocumented immigrants, "but on steroids," Dorf said.

"It's not that he would be prioritizing one part of the act above another, he would be saying he wouldn't do any of it," Dorf said.

Obama's immigration decision "was at the edge of what a president can do," he added. "What Romney would be proposing to do would go way beyond that."

Romney's third and most "radical" option, Dorf said, would be to assert an independent duty as president to act on his own interpretation of the Constitution, despite the Supreme Court's ruling. Thomas Jefferson was the last president to use this line of reasoning in 1801 when he refused to prosecute people under the Sedition Act, which made it a crime to publish "false, scandalous, and malicious writing" against the government or certain officials.

While this option would be the most effective way to quickly and fully repeal the law, Doft said, it would be like "playing with fire."

"It is possible he could do it and get away with some of it, but it would be at the cost of sparking a Constitution crisis," Doft said.

The most likely, and politically feasible, scenario is that Romney will not try to act unilaterally and instead will use his presidential bully pulpit to encourage Congress to repeal the bill.

"He's not a hapless giant by any means," said Stephen Hess, a senior fellow emeritus at the Brookings Institution. "He's more powerful than any other single individual around, but it's a system that doesn't allow him to just go ahead and do away with a major act of Congress."

With 47 Republicans in the Senate and 60 votes required to repeal in the upper chamber, even a great night on Nov. 6, 2012, is unlikely to produce a filibuster-proof GOP Senate majority. When the Senate voted in early 2011 on repeal, the vote failed 47-51. Obviously, it will take convincing some Senate Democrats to cross party lines to repeal the bill in Congress.

If Republicans won a simple majority of 51 seats in the Senate, a more possible scenario, they could attempt to repeal the law using reconciliation, a procedural maneuver that would require a simple majority instead of 60 votes. But this long-shot would take time to concoct and would not meet Romney's "first day" timeframe.

Now, repeal has re-emerged as a top campaign issue for congressional Republicans, much like the 2010 midterm elections that swept Rep John. Boehner into the speaker's chair.

"It becomes a huge issue going forward to the election in November," Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, told ABC on the steps of the court immediately after the decision was announced. "Barack Obama has had this around his neck for two and a half years. It will become an albatross around the neck of Barack Obama walking into November."

Asked why it is necessary for the House to act again on repeal, particularly when there are not enough votes in the Senate to repeal it, Boehner also said the Supreme Court's ruling will only act to strengthen his party's resolve this fall.

"The real outcome of today's decision is to strengthen our resolve to make sure that this law is in fact repealed," Boehner, R-Ohio, said. "We're going to work every single day between now and Election Day, and the American people then will get an opportunity to make their decision on Election Day because elections have consequences. The election in 2008 clearly had a consequence that most Americans disagree with."

After Chief Justice Roberts made it clear that the individual mandate was within Congress's power to tax, Rep. Pete Sessions, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Campaign committee, said Republicans "will call it what it is" as they work to magnify the Democrats efforts to increase taxes.

"It is a tax," Sessions, R-Texas, told reporters in the Speaker's Lobby during votes. "Obama will be a one-term president as a result of this bill."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov112011

Defense of Marriage Act Repeal Takes a Step Forward in the Senate

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Democrats’ efforts to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) took a procedural step forward Thursday, but final passage into law faces a very uphill climb.

By a party-line vote of 10-8, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the repeal of DOMA, the Clinton administration law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, out of committee by voting for the Respect for Marriage Act bill.

“So we begin with a single step on a march to equality,” committee chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said at a news conference following the vote.  “Marriage is a matter for the states to determine -- whether it’s my state or any other state.  And those Americans who are lawfully married should have the same protection under federal laws that my wife and I enjoy.”

While noting disappointment at not having a single Republican vote in the committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., hailed the procedural step.

“DOMA is discriminatory,” Feinstein said.  “DOMA prevents people legally married in a state to get the same rights and benefits -- federal rights and benefits that a heterosexual couple would get.  So it treats one class differently from another class.”

The bill’s next step is to be sent to the full Senate for consideration.  It’s unclear when, if at all, the majority leader will take up the bill in front of the full Senate.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul192011

Obama Supports Legislation to Repeal Defense of Marriage Act

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- On Wednesday, the Senate will hold the first hearing on The Respect for Marriage Act, which repeals the Defense of Marriage Act, thus granting to all lawfully married couples -- including same-sex couples -- the right to receive federal marriage benefits and protections if they are joined by a valid marriage in a state where such marriages are legal.

“The president has long called for a legislative repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which continues to have a real impact on the lives of real people -- our families, friends and neighbors,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said at Tuesday’s press briefing.

“He is proud to support the Respect for Marriage Act, introduced by Senator Feinstein and Congressman Nadler, which would take DOMA off the books once and for all," said Carney. "This legislation would uphold the principle that the federal government should not deny gay and lesbian couples the same rights and legal protections as straight couples.”

The president has long opposed DOMA, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, but it wasn’t until earlier this year that he instructed the Justice Department to stop defending it as a law on the books, as is customary.  In February, President Obama “made the determination,” according to Attorney General Eric Holder, that DOMA “as applied to same-sex couples who are legally married under state law, violates the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment.”

As for his personal position on same-sex marriage, the president continues to only say it is “evolving.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr142011

House Passes Repeal of Prevention and Public Health Fund

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Despite the president’s veto threat, the House voted Wednesday to repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a part of the Affordable Care Act.

The final vote tally came in at 236-183 and was divided mostly down party lines, with just four Democrats crossing the aisle to vote for repeal with the unanimous House GOP Conference.

The bill was the latest to come to the floor under the GOP’s "YouCut" program, where people can vote online on which spending cuts measure they’d like to see come to the House floor next.  According to House Republicans, the bill repeals $17.75 billion in mandatory spending.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the program granted the secretary of Health and Human Services unchecked authority to spend billions of taxpayer dollars on any so-called "public health" program without any further congressional action.

"These funds could be used to continue wasteful and duplicative programs that fail to actually improve health care for Americans," Cantor, R-Va., stated following the vote.  "By repealing this fund, we ensure that public health programs of highest priority will continue to be supported by Congress.  I thank Chairman Pitts for his hard work and sponsorship of this repeal legislation, our latest effort to defund ObamaCare."

The chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Michigan, also reacted to the repeal.

"Today the House demonstrated we understand the dire condition of Washington’s spending addiction and stripped a $17.75 billion slush fund tucked away in the 2,900 page health care law," Upton declared.  "With the federal government borrowing 42 cents of every dollar it spends, Congress should not abdicate our authority and responsibility by handing a perpetual blank check to the secretary of HHS."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr052011

Senate Passes Repeal of 1099 Requirement, Bill Heads to White House

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) --   In the first rollback of the Obama administration’s healthcare reform law, the Senate on Tuesday voted to repeal the healthcare reform provision that requires every business to file a 1099 form with the IRS any time it spends more than $600 with another business in a year. The vote tally was 87-12.

“As the president said during the State of the Union, we are open to working with Republicans and Democrats to improve the health reform law and we are pleased Congress has acted to correct a flaw that placed an unnecessary bookkeeping burden on small businesses,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

“Small businesses are the engine of our economy and eliminating the 1099 reporting requirement is the right thing to do,” Carney said. “As we move forward, we look forward to improving the tax credit policy in this legislation to ensure we protect small businesses and middle-class families. “

Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., called the repeal “a victory” when he spoke to reporters Tuesday afternoon.

The bill now heads to the White House for President Obama’s signature.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb022011

Republicans' Proposal to Repeal Health Care Law Defeated

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Democrats Wednesday shot down an attempt by Republicans to repeal the controversial new health care law.

Senators voted strictly along party lines -- 51 to 47 -- on the repeal: Every Republican supported repeal, while every Democrat who voted opposed repeal. Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and Mark Warner, D-Va, missed the vote.

The repeal needed 60 votes to advance past a so-called budget point of order in the Senate, something that was never likely to happen, given the Democrats' majority in the upper chamber of Congress.

Ultimately, just getting the repeal to a Senate vote was a victory for Republicans. The GOP, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, insisted on a Senate vote to repeal the law after the Republican-controlled House voted to do so last month.

When Democrats brought the $35 billion Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill to the Senate floor -- touting it as "the first jobs bill" of the new Congress, one that would save or create an estimated 280,000 jobs -- Republicans attempted to attach the repeal of the health care law as an amendment. Democrats protested on the grounds of a budget point of order, because it would add to the deficit, which led to today's vote.

While the repeal failed to advance, senators did move forward with an effort to change the much-maligned 1099 provision of the health care law, which critics say would impose an onerous reporting burden on businesses. An amendment from Sen.Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., to scrap the 1099 mandate from the law advanced by a vote of 81-17.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jan222011

Sen. Barrasso: Job Not Done until Obamacare Is Repealed, Replaced

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CASPER, Wyo.) -- In this week's Republican address, Senator John Barrasso, R-Wyo., focused on the repeal of the Obama Administration's health care law, giving examples of money he says has been wasted "trying to persuade [Americans] to support this law" and pointing out Obamacare's shortcomings.

"We've already heard how the new law forces many employers to choose between keeping workers and paying for insurance coverage," Barrasso said in his address.  "As I travel across the country, I continue to hear from Americans who want Washington to take its hands off of their health care."

Barrasso emphasized -- perhaps most of all -- that Washington should not "come between" Americans and their doctors. 

The Wyoming senator, who is also a doctor, reiterated the Republican party's mission to repeal Obama's health care law and replace it with reforms that would restore Americans' "freedom over their own health care decisions."

"Republicans will fight to repeal this job-destroying law and replace it with patient centered reforms.  Reforms like making it legal for Americans to buy health insurance from companies in other states … Ending junk lawsuits that drive up the cost of everyone's care."

"Our job won't be done until we repeal and replace this bad law," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec222010

President Obama Signs 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' Repeal

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama signed into law a repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy Wednesday morning, ending the ban on openly gay troops.

According to officials, the 17-year-old policy will remain in effect in the near term, however, until the president, defense secretary and Congress certify the military is ready to implement a repeal.  Then, a 60-day waiting period begins before the ban is officially removed from the books.

In the weeks ahead, the Pentagon is expected to revise policies and regulations to reflect the repeal, and train leaders on how to enforce the rules.  More than two million service members across the military are also expected to be briefed on what is expected of them and what is not.

Among the expected changes is non-discrimination against a military applicant who may volunteer that he or she is gay.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Dec182010

Senator Misses Historic Votes for Holiday Party

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- There was one Democratic senator who missed Saturday’s crucial votes on Capitol Hill: West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, who was elected just last month. Manchin was at a holiday party when the Senate finally passed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal and took one last shot at the DREAM Act immigration bill.

“While he regrets missing the votes, it was a family obligation that he just could not break,” said Manchin spokesperson Sara Payne Scarbro. “However, he has been clear on where he stands on the issues.”

Manchin does not support the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell because of concerns about the “the timing and the impact of the repeal's implementation on our front line combat troops during a time of war.” He did not support the DREAM Act because he believed it should have required the completion of a degree.

In contrast, Manchin's colleague, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR, elected to stay on the Hill to vote, even though he is set to have surgery for prostate cancer on Monday.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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