Appearing on Fox News Sunday this week, incoming Energy & Commerce Committee chairman Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., hinted that House Republicans may have enough votes to repeal President Obama's health care overhaul law, and may even have the numbers to override a potential presidential veto of the repeal measure. The big repeal push, Upton said, may come sooner than many anticipated, potentially even before the president's upcoming State of the Union address.
"As part of our pledge we said that we would bring up a vote to repeal health care early," Upton said. "That will happen before the president's State of the Union address. We have 242 Republicans. There will be a significant number of Democrats, I think, that will join us. You will remember when that vote passed in the House, last march; it only passed by seven votes.
"Just wait," he continued. "If you switched four votes from last March, that bill would have gone down. So we'll take the Democrats that voted no, we will take other Democrats who probably agree with Speaker Pelosi's statement. Remember when she said we want to pass this thing because then we'll learn what's in it? Well now the American public does know what is in it. Unpopularity numbers are as high as 60 percent across the country. I don't think we're going to be that far off from having the votes to actually override a veto."
Overriding a presidential veto requires the support of two-thirds federal lawmakers. The easier approach would be a piece-by-piece rebuttal of the law, which Upton also hinted at Sunday. "We'll look at the 1099 issue -- [Michigan Rep.] Dave Camps' committee, Ways and Means -- to look at the $600 1099 that has to be processed for every business transaction. We'll look at the individual mandate requirement and all of those as individual pieces. We are going to take up early the Pitts-Stupak language 'no funds shall be spent on abortion' as a separate bill early on. And we will look at the individual pieces to see if we can't have the thing crumble."
Upton's comments follow a stern warning from Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, who Friday warned that any attempt from Republicans to overturn the Democrats' health care reform law would open the door to a single-payer system for the United States.
"If you demolish the new bill and we go back to square one, you still have 50 million who don't have any coverage, then what's the option if you can't have the government, say, by private insurance, which -- believe me, as someone would has fought that system I understand that -- then the only other option is to say what other industrialized democracies say, healthcare is a basic right, we've got to provide for everyone, we'll have a single-payer system," the congressman said.
"So, my Republican friends who are working very hard to demolish the bill, may, in fact, inadvertently, paradoxically be creating the opening to push single-payer forward again," he said.