Republicans Start 2016 by Trying to Repeal Obamacare Again

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After five years and dozens of attempts, Republicans are sending a bill to President Obama’s desk to roll back his signature healthcare law.

The House passed Wednesday a measure that repeals elements of Obamacare and denies Planned Parenthood federal funds, two policy priorities Republicans have struggled to move through Congress.

The House passed the bill 240–181 along party lines. The vote was called at 5:56 p.m., with Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Illinois, in the chair.

President Obama is expected to issue his sixth veto on the measure, which passed through the Senate in December. Still, Republicans say they are forcing the president to defend his policies.

“We are confronting the president with the hard, honest truth,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, said in a news conference Wednesday. “Obamacare is not successful … and the American people deserve better.”

Ryan promised last year that Republicans would put forward a GOP-alternative to Obamacare in 2016. Asked today about the status of that plan, Ryan said “just wait.”

While he has said the GOP needs a Republican in the White House to fully repeal Obamacare, some hardliners want to see Ryan and other GOP leaders pick up the fight in the appropriation process for next year.

“We shouldn’t walk away from a fight, that’s what [Donald] Trump has proven,” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kansas, a member of the House Freedom Caucus. “People want us to step up for what we believe.”

Republicans were able to move this most recent Obamacare repeal bill through Congress after 60-plus attempts by using the budget reconciliation process, which lowered the threshold for passage in the Senate to 51 votes, denying Democrats the ability to filibuster.

Democrats used budget reconciliation to pass the Affordable Care Act in 2010.