WASHINGTON, D.C., February 1, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says he plans to force the U.S. Senate to vote on repealing the national health care reform law as early as this week.
According to The Hill, McConnell (R-Ky.) told fellow Republicans Tuesday that he would submit the repeal bill in the form of an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill.
The Hill reports that McConnell and Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) have a “gentleman’s agreement” that will allow McConnell to submit the repeal amendment. The terms are that Reid will allow GOP amendments, so long as the GOP does not filibuster the motions to proceed on Senate bills.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted nearly two weeks ago to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) by a 245-189 margin.
Pro-life groups have charged that the PPACA opens the door to federal funding of abortion in ways that can only be rectified by either full repeal, or at the very least by a permanent Hyde-Amendment type ban on public funds going to organizations and insurance carriers that subsidize abortion.
Also contentious is the “individual mandate” of the PPACA, which requires Americans to buy health insurance or pay a financial penalty. Opponents have argued that while a state can technically require its citizens to purchase certain products (such as automobile insurance), the U.S. Constitution prohibits Congress from having the power to make such direct demands on U.S. citizens.
Should the Senate actually vote to repeal, President Barack Obama has vowed to veto the repeal.
McConnell’s move to repeal the PPACA comes just a day after a federal judge in Florida invalidated the entire law on account of the individual mandate to carry health insurance.
U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson in Pensacola ruled Monday that U.S. Constitution did not give Congress the legal power to require Americans to purchase health insurance or face a penalty, a provision that is set to begin in 2014. He struck down the entire law, because PPACA did not have a severability clause that would keep the constitutional portions of the law in effect.
“At a time when there is virtually unanimous agreement that health care reform is needed in this country, it is hard to invalidate and strike down a statute titled ‘The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,’” wrote Vinson.
He added, “Regardless of how laudable its attempts may have been to accomplish these goals in passing the Act, Congress must operate within the bounds established by the Constitution.”
One other federal judge in Virginia has struck down the PPACA on account of the individual mandate, while two other federal judges have upheld it.
The cases are expected to be resolved ultimately by the U.S. Supreme Court.