WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday unanimously passed a bill to repeal healthcare reform legislation enacted during the last Congress.
In a 245 to 189 vote, only three Democrats voted for the repeal -- fewer than the GOP once predicted, Politico reported. The bill --formally known as the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act -- heads to the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has said he will block it.
During floor debate, Reps. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., and Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., agreed that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act creates jobs, but disagreed on those jobs' merits.
"It's creating 150 new government agencies. And these are all government jobs. When we talk about job creation here, that's government jobs," Stearns said.
"It's time for those who support repeal to give up the federal health benefits they currently enjoy as Members of Congress -- the same benefits and protections they are voting to take away from millions of Americans," a House Democratic leadership aide said of GOP House members. "Americans have a right to know that those who support repeal are willing to live without the same benefits they are denying their constituents."
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., challenged Democrats to bring the bill up for a vote in the Senate, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
"Not only would repeal not pass, but (a weekend opinion poll indicated) three out of four people don't want it to," Reid spokesman Zac Petkanas told the Las Vegas Sun. "Why? Because full repeal means raising taxes on small business, reopening the Medicare donut hole and putting insurance companies back in charge of your health care."
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released a report Tuesday saying without the new law's protections, as many as 129 million Americans under age 65 could be denied health insurance coverage due to pre-existing medical conditions.