Health care repeal vote puts heat on Democrats

Effort unlikely to prevail in Senate

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“I refuse to waste the time and resources of American taxpayers, like I said when this vote came before the House the first time, by engaging in a purely partisan exercise that has no chance of becoming law,” Mr. Altmire said.

Mr. Critz, who was elected to Congress after the law was passed, said he still opposes major parts of the law, but will vote against repealing it, saying Congress should work to fix it instead.

Of the 34 Democrats who voted against the law when it was passed in March 2010, only 13 remain in Congress. Three of them sided with Republicans when the House voted last year to repeal the entire law.

By holding a second comprehensive repeal vote — even though their chances of success are no better than the last time around — Republicans hope to churn up enough political momentum against the health care law that they can win the White House and enough seats in Congress to repeal the whole law next year.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor promised a vote to repeal the whole law just hours after the Supreme Court passed down its ruling on June 28. And to lead up to the vote, Republican committee chairmen held hearings on Tuesday to highlight their complaints against the law.

Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell E. Issa of California invited witnesses who testified about how the law would hurt job creators and the economy. Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina presided over a health subcommittee hearing examining how the law would affect doctors and patients.

Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, held a hearing on the Supreme Court’s ruling that the penalty for failing to buy coverage is a tax — the part of the ruling Republicans have been hammering, accusing Mr. Obama of breaking his promises not to raise taxes on middle-income Americans.

And floor debate went much the same way it’s gone the 32 other times the House has voted to repeal parts or all of the law.

The Supreme Court’s ruling last month upheld the individual mandate requiring all Americans to obtain insurance as valid under Congress‘ taxing power. But the decision did nothing to quell the discord between the two parties.

And the public remains just as polarized, although some polls have indicated that the health care law may not be as important to voters this election as in 2010.

In a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Tuesday, 37 percent of registered voters said it didn’t make much difference to them whether a candidate supported the health care law. That’s up from 21 percent of respondents who said a candidate’s stance on the law would make no difference in a similar poll conducted two years ago.

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