WASHINGTON, D.C., January 3, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – House Republicans are gearing up to take down the pro-abortion health care law passed by Congress last March as their first order of business, and a vote to repeal the law could happen within a matter of weeks.
House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said the GOP would pursue a dual strategy of tackling the whole health care law or chopping away at critical sections of the Affordable Care Act – such as its provisions that allow for abortion funding.
Upton told the Fox News Sunday program that the GOP would be bringing a vote to repeal the entire law “before the president’s State of the Union address.”
“We have 242 Republicans,” he said, adding confidently that he believed “a significant number of Democrats” would also join the GOP in trying to undo President Barack Obama’s signature achievement, possibly even finding a veto-proof majority.
Upton said that after that vote, the GOP would attack three major pillars of the health law in order to cripple the legislation.
“We’ll look at these individual pieces to see if we can’t have the thing crumble,” he continued.
One method of attack, he explained, would be to implement a Pitts-Stupak style ban that would provide a government-wide ban on public funding for abortion in the health care scheme. That bill would likely come out of the E&C Health subcommittee chaired by pro-life Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.)
Another area of attack would be the individual mandate, a law that forces U.S. citizens to purchase health insurance from insurance providers or pay a fine – the mandate is considered essential to the regulatory scheme of the ACA. A third area would be repealing the 1099 tax scheme which requires all taxable entities (including individuals and small businesses) to send out 1099 tax forms to every company or individual having purchased at least $600 worth of goods and services within the tax year beginning on January 1, 2012.
Pro-life groups have argued that a government-wide statutory ban on funding for abortion is necessary, not only to prevent court-challenges to Obama’s executive order, but also because the president’s order is not comprehensive enough to make sure no money goes to insurance companies that subsidize abortion.
Back in July, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) exposed a serious weakness in the executive order obtained by pro-life Democrat Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan. NRLC discovered that Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services had approved applications for federal subsidies of high-risk pools from at least three states (New Mexico, Maryland, Pennsylvania) that included elective abortion as a covered benefit. The Obama order did not technically cover Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plans (PCIPs), a $5 billion HHS stopgap program to help those with pre-existing medical conditions unable to afford health insurance, until the health care reform law takes full effect in 2014. This raised further questions about what else the executive order did not cover that requires constant vigilance on the part of pro-life advocates.
However, The Hill reports that Democrats are pledging to block any repeal from going forward in the U.S. Senate, where 60 votes are required under the Senate’s rules to begin debate.
“If House Republicans move forward with a repeal of the health care law that threatens consumer benefits like the ‘donut hole’ fix, we will block it in the Senate,” stated a letter signed by Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and other top Democrats.
The new Congress will be sworn in Wednesday, January 5. It has been described by many pro-life advocates as the most pro-life congress in living memory.