The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday to repeal most of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and defund Planned Parenthood for one year, making good on a promise to focus on these tasks in the upcoming year. The bill will now head to President Obama’s desk.
The Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015, or HR 3762, passed 240 to181 with one Democrat voting in favor. The bill, which was approved by the Senate in early December, utilized the budget reconciliation process to bypass a filibuster by Senate Democrats that has halted similar measures to repeal the ACA in part or in full, voted through by House Republicans more than 50 times.
President Obama is expected to veto the legislation. The move nonetheless details the priorities of the House as it enters the new year, and marks the first time such a measure has reached his desk. Republicans intend to schedule a vote to override the president’s veto for January 22, but lack the two-thirds “supermajority” needed to force the bill through.
“House Republicans will immediately set a tone that represents a better path for our country by sending the President a bill that repeals Obamacare and defunds Planned Parenthood,” House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said in a press release on the bill.
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“Obamacare is a failure and taxpayer funding of abortion providers is wrong,” McCarthy added, referring to parts of the measure that would defund Planned Parenthood. “With this bill, we will force President Obama to show the American people where he stands.”
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan similarly defended sending the largely symbolic bill to the president while appearing on Fox News’ Hannity Tuesday night.
“I mean, how many times have we been saying we want to put bills on his desk that say who we are and what we believe versus what he believes,” Ryan said, according to the Washington Post. “We have to go on offense in 2016, and we have to offer a bold agenda to the country.”
The House bill would eliminate both the individual and employer mandates from the health-care law, which has allowed millions of Americans to secure health insurance.
It would also eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood for one year and attempt to divert those funds in part toward community health centers, despite numerous studies conducted by scholars and health organizations finding that community clinics would not be able to fill the gap in care that defunding Planned Parenthood would create.
Republicans have prioritized the elimination of funding for Planned Parenthood in the wake of a series of deceptively edited videos released by an anti-choice front group called the Center for Medical Progress. The videos accuse the organization of illegally profiting from the sale of fetal tissue donations. Although numerous state and congressional investigations have turned up no evidence of wrongdoing, GOP lawmakers continue to champion the cause.