The House voted on Wednesday evening to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, with the measure passing the Republican controlled chamber 240-181.
This marks the first time that Congress has sent a measure to repeal the Affordable Care Act to Obama’s desk, forcing the president to issue a rare veto.
Previously, Senate Republicans had been unable to bypass Democratic filibusters and pass repeal of the controversial law. That changed in early December when the upper chamber voted 52-47 to repeal it and strip federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
“For five years, Senate Democrats have blocked our efforts to repeal Obamacare,” Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement. “That ends today. With this vote, we are keeping a promise and putting a bill that repeals Obamacare and defunds Planned Parenthood on the president’s desk.”
“This budget reconciliation bill, which would reduce the federal deficit by a half trillion dollars, forces the president to confront the failures of Obamacare head on,” he added. “But most importantly, it clears the path to repealing this law with a Republican president in 2017 and replacing it with a truly patient-centered health care system. We will not back down from this fight to defend the sanctity of life and make quality health care coverage achievable for all Americans.”
House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said the repeal forced Obama to “choose whether to stand with the American people or stand behind his failures.”
“Today the House did its job,” he said. “Obamacare has been a disaster since it was forced on the American people over five years ago.”
A statement from Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was not immediately available.
A former Republican staff member on the Senate Budget Committee told The New York Times that sending the Obamacare repeal bill to Obama’s desk was a tremendous achievement.
“This is a big deal” said Bill Hoagland, senior vice president of the Bipartisan Policy Center told The Times. “This vote sends the signal to the president and the American people there are changes that need to be made in this law.”
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