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House votes to bring healthcare repeal to floor for debate

The House of Representatives on Friday votes to bring the repeal of the healthcare overhaul to the floor for formal debate. A new poll shows that Americans slightly supported overturning one of the signature efforts of President Obama's administration.

January 07, 2011|By Michael Muskal | Los Angeles Times

The House of Representatives on Friday voted to bring the repeal of the healthcare overhaul to the floor for formal debate even as the latest poll showed that Americans slightly supported overturning one of the signature efforts of President Obama’s administration.

In what was essentially a party-line vote, the House approved the rule required to bring the repeal measure to the floor for final consideration next week. The vote was 236-181, with two lawmakers voting present.

It was a highly predictable partisan argument, with Republicans saying they wanted to fulfill a campaign promise to vote for repeal while Democrats argued that the new GOP majority was pushing to roll back a measure that will hurt healthcare and will increase the federal deficit.

“We are doing what we promised the American people to do,” Rep. David Dreier (R-San Dimas), the Rules Committee chairman, argued on the floor.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) sounded the Democratic defense of their hallmark health program. He cited a recent Congressional Budget Office finding that a repeal would add $230 billion to the deficit, and he blamed Republicans for refusing to allow amendments despite pledges to have a more open legislative process.

“Worse than Republicans’ broken promises is what this will do to children,” and others needing healthcare, he argued.

The House next week is expected to easily pass the repeal, which is unlikely to be approved in  the Senate. If it did pass, it would surely be vetoed by President Obama.

House Republicans have acknowledged that their move will fail but have pledged to come back to try to cut off funds needed to implement parts of the healthcare overhaul package.

“This is more than symbolism,” said  Rep. Nan  Hayworth (R-N.Y.), part of the new GOP class that won office running against what conservatives called Obamacare.  “The majority of people continue to support repeal.”

According to the latest Gallup poll released on Friday, 46% of American favor repeal while 40% say they want the current law to stand. About one in seven of those polled said they had no opinion.

But the numbers change drastically when the those polled are asked their political leanings. About 78% of Republicans favor repeal while 64% of those who identified themselves as Democrats said they opposed repeal. Independents split almost evenly, 43% favoring repeal and 39% opposing; about  18% of independents had no opinion.

Results are based on a survey of 1,025 adults conducted Jan. 4-5. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

michael.muskal@latimes.com

Twitter.com/LATimes.com

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