The bill to repeal Obamacare that House Republicans will run to the floor this coming week has not been introduced yet. Consistent with their promise of advance notice, though, they have made a copy available.
This one is blessedly brief at six-and-a-quarter pages. Five of those pages are introductory material and “findings,” the statements Congress sometimes attaches to bills to show why they’re doing what they do. One page is dedicated to getting rid of the main Obamacare law and the follow-up law that Congress passed to complete the president’s health care revamp.
A bill to repeal Obamacare has to be passed by the Senate, and the president must sign it. In the Senate, a bill must pass by a majority of its 100 members, and Republicans don’t have a majority. They have 47. To top it off, most bills require a 60-vote majority because of a thing called the “cloture” rule, which requires 60 votes to end debate and prevent a filibuster. Were the bill to get out of the Senate, there is, of course, the president, who is not going to sign a bill to repeal his signature legislative achievement.
A veto override takes 2/3rds majorities in both the House and Senate. That means 290 votes in the House and 67 votes in the Senate. Obamacare passed 219 – 212 in the House and 60 – 39 in the Senate. Not gonna happen.
As before, House Republicans are signaling with all their might that they represent the only hope of getting rid of Obamacare after the next election. In a post called “Obamacare and Reconciliation,” we recently went through how that would work next year, if Republicans’ stars align.
Sophisticated followers of politics and policy like us don’t need to pay much attention to the debate in the House this week. It’s Republicans’ hope of pushing through the media filter that electing people from their party next year will get rid of the health care law. Democrats are equally interested in showing the public that they are going to protect the law.
This is Congress working to take an issue to the people in November. Make sure you’re there to have your say in the next election.