Posted: 11:45 am Wednesday, January 4th, 2017
By Jamie Dupree
In dueling visits to the U.S. Capitol by President Obama and Vice President-Elect Pence on Wednesday, members of Congress officially kicked off what is expected to be a bruising fight over GOP efforts to do away with the Obama health law, as Republicans said they were eager to get into the details of how best to repeal Mr. Obama’s signature legislative achievement.
“The first order of business is to repeal and replace Obamacare, and that was our message today, and will be our message on Capitol Hill,” the Vice President-Elect said after a meeting with House Republicans.
We're going to keep our promise to the American people. Our 1st order of business will be to repeal & replace Obamacare pic.twitter.com/62QQVfOhcv
— Mike Pence (@mike_pence) January 4, 2017
Today marks the kick off of the 2017 campaign. On health care. Again.
— Dana Bash (@DanaBashCNN) January 4, 2017
Not far from where Republicans were meeting, President Obama was rallying with Democrats, urging them to fight Republicans with all they have.
“We’re united in our opposition to these Republican attempts to make America sick again,” said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, who repeatedly used that line to riff on Mr. Trump’s election mantra.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) January 4, 2017
— CNN (@CNN) January 4, 2017
Democrats tried to warn Republicans not to follow through on their promise.
“What they’ve been saying is that they are going to repeal the health care act, and if they do that – there may be hell to pay,” said Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL).
While Mr. Obama focused mainly on the health care fight, Pence and Republicans discussed a broader array of efforts by the new administration – which will start right away.
“It will literally begin on day one,” Pence told reporters after his meeting with House GOP lawmakers, as he told Republicans that Mr. Trump will move immediately to repeal certain executive actions of President Obama.
“We are 16 days away from the end of business as usual in Washington, D.C.,” Pence said.
GOP lawmakers were thrilled with the call to action.
“The parade is going to be shorter so we can get to work early,” Rep. Dan Webster (R-FL) said of Inauguration Day, on January 20.
“It’s going to go on for about 90 minutes,” said Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA) of the parade, “because they’re going back to the Oval Office; they’re going to sit down and get to work.”
The idea of a flurry of executive actions has been percolating for several weeks inside GOP circles – an effort as I’ve been told to basically “erase” much of what President Obama has done with executive actions during his two terms in office.
As for the health law, not long after President Obama left the Capitol, Republicans started the first procedural moves to lay the groundwork for repeal of that law, as the Senate voted 51-48 to officially begin debate on the “budget resolution,” which will allow for later action to repeal parts of the law.
The fight to repeal the Obama health law is officially underway.
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.