One casualty of the East Coast’s winter weather is Congress’ planned votes this week on overriding President Obama’s veto of the bill repealing Obamacare and defunding Planned Parenthood.
The U.S. House voted Jan. 6 to pass the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act, after the Senate had voted for the bill Dec. 3. That bill went to Obama’s desk, where he vetoed it.
Congress was set to try to override that vote this week – an effort that was not expected to be successful because of opposition from Democrats. However, winter weather led House leaders to cancel all House activities this week, including votes scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. According to an announcement sent to members by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., the veto override will now be considered the week of Feb. 1.
The Senate can’t move on a veto override vote until after it has passed the House, so action in the Senate will also wait until then, according to Caroline Rabbitt, communications director for U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. Patrick Creamer, communications director for U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., said the Senate will return to Washington on Wednesday.
The bill would repeal health exchange subsidies and the Medicaid expansion that in Arkansas has made possible the private option, which purchases private insurance for individuals with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level. It would repeal individual and employer mandate penalties and taxes on medical devices as well as the excise tax on high-cost employer health plans, otherwise known as the “Cadillac Tax.”
It would end premium tax credits for individuals purchasing health insurance on a health exchange and repeal payments to insurers to reduce cost-sharing paid by qualified persons. Various taxes associated with the Affordable Care Act would be repealed as of Jan. 1 of this year.
It also would end federal funding for Planned Parenthood, the organization which, among other services, provides abortions.
The six members of Arkansas’ congressional delegation, all Republicans, voted for the repeal legislation before it went to the president’s desk.