GOP OKs bud­get plan to over­turn Oba­macare

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - NATION - ——— The New York Times and Tri­bune News Ser­vice con­trib­uted to this re­port.

WASHINGTON >> The House gave fi­nal ap­proval Fri­day for speedy ac­tion to re­peal the Af­ford­able Care Act, putting Congress on track to undo the most sig­nif­i­cant health care law in a half-cen­tury.

By a vote of 227-198, the House ap­proved a bud­get blue­print that al­lows Repub­li­cans to oblit­er­ate ma­jor pro­vi­sions of Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s health care law with­out the threat of a Demo­cratic fil­i­buster in the Se­nate.

The vote, com­ing a week be­fore Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s in­au­gu­ra­tion, places Repub­li­cans in po­si­tion to ac­com­plish their goal of dis­man­tling Obama’s sig­na­ture do­mes­tic achieve­ment.

But the quick ac­tion by Congress adds ur­gency to the ques­tion of what comes next. Repub­li­cans are far from a con­sen­sus on how to go about re­plac­ing the health care law, un­der which more than 20 mil­lion Amer­i­cans have gained health in­sur­ance.

Repub­li­cans have pledged to re­peal the Af­ford­able Care Act. Now they say they are in­tent on keeping their prom­ise to Amer­i­cans who have been crushed by soar­ing pre­mi­ums and other un­in­tended ef­fects of the law, which was adopted with­out any Repub­li­can votes.

Democrats warned re­peal of Oba­macare would cause hard­ship for mil­lions of Amer­i­cans and cre­ate chaos in in­sur­ance mar­kets and the health care sys­tem.

The House vote gen­er­ally ad­hered to party lines. The Se­nate had ap­proved the bud­get blue­print early Thurs­day by a vote of 51-48.

Be­fore the House vote, some con­ser­va­tive Repub­li­cans as well as mod­er­ates ex­pressed dis­com­fort about sign­ing off on the bud­get mea­sure with­out hav­ing a clearer pic­ture of how Repub­li­can lead­ers planned to go about re­plac­ing the health care law. Nine House Repub­li­cans voted against the bud­get blue­print Fri­day. No Democrats voted for it. civil­ian con­trol of the mil­i­tary.

Mat­tis re­tired from the Marines in 2013 af­ter serv­ing more than four decades.

The bill, which passed the Se­nate 81-17 on Thurs­day, next goes to the White House for Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s sig­na­ture.

“I think you can an­tic­i­pate if it makes it to the pres­i­dent’s desk, he will sign it,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Fri­day.

The House vote saw a wave of Demo­cratic op­po­si­tion af­ter Trump’s tran­si­tion team did not al­low Mat­tis to tes­tify be­fore the House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee about civil­ian con­trol of the mil­i­tary. Mat­tis, who is widely re­spected in the mil­i­tary and on Capi­tol Hill, had told the House com­mit­tee he planned to ap­pear, but ul­ti­mately pulled out.

With the waiver now ap­proved, Mat­tis ap­pears on track to win easy con­fir­ma­tion in the Se­nate next week. He sailed through his con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing in the Se­nate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee on Thurs­day.

Though 18 of the 25 men who have run the Pen­tagon since 1947 had pre­vi­ously served in the mil­i­tary, Mat­tis is only the se­cond to re­quire a waiver.

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