After postponing the vote scheduled for today on the repeal of the Obamacare bill that presents abortion-funding and rationing concerns, House Republicans have re-scheduled the vote for next week.
Speaker John Boehner quickly postponed the vote hours after the tragic shooting of Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Arizona, that resulted in the slaying of a half dozen people and injuring more than a dozen more. Giffords is still recovering from the gunshot wound to the head she received from 22-year-old suspect Jared Lee Loughner, who waited in line to approach Giffords and shot her in the head from about two feet away.
Following the shooting, Boehner swiftly issued a response, saying, “An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve” and postponing the vote.
With Giffords’ condition improving and members of the Republican and Democratic caucuses holding weekend retreats this weekend to prepare for the new session of Congress, Boehner has rescheduled the Obamacare repeal vote for next week, according to a Congressional Quarterly report. No formal announcement has been made, but HR 2 is expected to receive a vote next week.
In place of the scheduled vote, lawmakers will pass a resolution today honoring Giffords and supporting her and the families of those killed and injured in the attack.
In the aftermath of the shootings, some Democrats called on Boehner and Republicans to not go forward with the repeal vote. But, given the significant opposition from the American public and the way in which the health care takeover affects pro-life issues such as abortion and rationing, most Republican lawmakers see the vote as necessary. However, the debate leading up to the vote may be more subdued than it would have been had the Arizona shooting not occurred.
John Feehery, a former aide to pro-life House Speaker Denny Hastert, talked with CQ about how the legislative agenda comes together following a tragic incident.
“You have a crisis, and Congress tends to come together, and then the crisis ebbs, and then you kind of retreat to familiar differences of opinion,” he said.
He said he expected Boehner to handle the situation well.
“He’s an adult, and I think his adult leadership is going to help heal the House,” Feehery said, adding, “he tends not to be a sound-bite guy. He tends to be more measured in his comments, I think, because he’s had long service in the House and has bipartisan relationships.”
The House of Representatives took its first step last week in repealing the abortion-funding ObamaCare bill that pro-life groups strongly oppose.
On a 236-181 vote, Republicans approved the rules for debate for the legislation they will vote on next week to repeal the government takeover of health care. Four Democrats (Reps. Dan Boren of Oklahoma, Mike McIntyre and Larry Kissell of North Carolina and Mike Ross of Arkansas) joined Republicans in supporting the rule while two Republicans voted present and 15 lawmakers of both parties did not vote.
The vote also paves the way for axing the abortion funding from ObamaCare.
The rule also provides for consideration of H. Res. 9, which instructs relevant House Committees to replace Obamacare with legislation that achieves certain goals including to “prohibit taxpayer funding for abortions and provide conscience protections for health care providers.”
Members of Congress are also scheduled to vote soon on a bill sponsored by pro-life Congressman Mike pence that would revoke federal taxpayer funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business.
The Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act ensures that taxpayer money authorized by the federal government for family planning efforts supposedly to reduce abortions don’t go to the nation’s biggest abortion business.
Last year alone, according to Planned Parenthood’s own annual report, it received more than $363 million in revenue from government grants and contracts. During that same timeframe, it did 324,008 abortions, a 5.8 percent increase from the previous year, which also set a record high at that time.
“It is morally wrong to end an unborn human life by abortion. It is also morally wrong to take the taxpayer dollars of millions of pro-life Americans and use them to promote abortion at home or abroad,” Pence said on Friday on the House floor in introducing his bill.