Gibbs: Healthcare repeal not likely

Nov. 5, 2010 at 9:26 AM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Republicans' pledge to repeal the U.S. healthcare reform law enacted earlier this year likely won't come to fruition, a White House spokesman said.

Republican leaders such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Reps. John Boehner of Ohio and Eric Cantor of Virginia -- the likely House speaker and majority leader -- have said several times since Tuesday's elections they plan to repeal the healthcare and financial reform laws. Republicans took control of the House of Representatives but fell short in reclaiming the Senate.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday he does not think repeal legislation would make it out of both houses of Congress.

"I honestly don't think it will come to that," Gibbs said during his daily briefing when responding to a question about whether Obama would veto any attempts to repeal his signature legislation.

House Republicans have indicated they're considering an early up-or-down vote to repeal the healthcare legislation, even though overturning the measure is beyond their control because of the Democratically controlled Senate and Obama's veto pen, The Miami Herald reported.

However, the House can throw a wrench in many of the law's provisions -- some years away from implementation -- by slowing the measure's funding through congressional hearings, rigorous oversight and legislative delaying tactics, a conservative commentator said.

"It sends a signal to the people that put them in power that (House Republicans) are going to keep the faith with them in terms of their priorities. It really needs to happen," James Capretta, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, told the Herald.

In a speech before the conservative Heritage Foundation Thursday, McConnell said: "We can -- and should -- propose and vote on straight repeal, repeatedly. ... But we can't expect the president to sign it. So we'll also have to work, in the House, on denying funds for implementation and, in the Senate, on votes against its most egregious provisions."

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