House Leader Challenges Senate Democrats on Obamcare Repeal

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 19, 2011   |   11:46AM   |   Washington, DC

With the House of Representatives expected to clear its repeal bill later today, pro-life House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the number two GOP lawmakers, challenged pro-abortion Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Reid’s spokesman says that the Senate won’t bring up the repeal bill for a debate or vote because he claims polling data shows Americans don’t support it — even though that’s not the case.

“Not only would repeal not pass, but according to a poll by AP over the weekend, three out of four people don’t want it to,” Reid spokesman Jon Summers said. “Why? Because full repeal means raising taxes on small businesses, reopening the Medicare donut hole, and putting insurance companies back in charge of your health care.”

However, the new Associated Press poll out this week shows a plurality of Americans oppose the Obamacare law, which has prompted significant abortion-funding and rationing concerns for pro-life groups. The poll also found fifty-nine percent opposed the individual mandate while 31 percent supported it — the part of the legislation requiring every American to purchase health insurance (that could potentially fund abortions).

Responding to the claims, Cantor, yesterday, challenged Reid and said he was afraid to bring up the repeal bill for a debate and vote.

“If Harry Reid is so confident that the repeal vote should die in the Senate then he should bring it up for a vote if he’s so confident he’s got the votes,” Cantor said.
“If Harry Reid is so confident that the members of that body are where he is, then let’s see them vote in that body.”

Ed Morrissey of the Hot Air blog, a conservative web site, commented on the debate between Cantor and Reid and he said if voters really opposed repealing Obamacare in the way the top Senate Democrat describes, “Reid would have no trouble scheduling a vote.”

“The Senate would spend hours extolling the virtues of ObamaCare and then hold a vote where the House repeal would get widely opposed.  Such a spectacle would cement the spin that the Republican House leadership is radical, out of control, and unrepresentative of the American political consensus,” Morrissey says. “Reid knows, however, that it’s his Democrats who have alienated the electorate through the passage of ObamaCare — and so does Cantor. In fact, so do a number of Reid’s colleagues in the Senate, 23 of whom have to face voters next year.”

Morrissey says subjecting Democrats to a vote on repeal would hurt Democrats in 2012 who face tenuous re-election campaigns such as Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Jon Tester of Montana.

“The last thing many of them need is to be forced to support it again in this session, even with a cloture vote,” he said.

The House of Representatives took its first step latwo weeks ago 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.”

When Congress passed the government-run health care bill, it did so without any limits on abortion funding and language mandating taxpayer financing of abortion in certain circumstances.

Obama eventually issued a controversial executive order supposedly taking the abortion funding issue off the table.

However, virtually every pro-life group said it would not mitigate the abortion funding because it doesn’t have the effect of law, could be reversed in the future, and because it didn’t tackle much of the abortion funding in the bill. The Obama administration could also ignore the order and not put it in place when the health care law goes into effect.

Under the new health care law, states will be in charge of their own health care exchanges that are available for individuals and small businesses.

The exchange doesn’t go into effect until 2014 and states are filing lawsuits seeking to stop the pro-abortion health care bill in its other pro-abortion provisions entirety, but states are moving now to exercise their right to opt out of some of the abortion funding.

Arizona, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana have passed similar bills that have already been signed into law by governors in those states and several other states are expected to consider legislation in their upcoming legislative sessions. Governors in Oklahoma and Florida vetoed similar legislation.