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GOP: House repeal of health care law much more than ‘symbolic’

DES MOINES, Iowa — Republicans in Washington say their vote Wednesday to repeal the health care overhaul law was far more than just symbolic, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell going as far as to promise a Senate vote on full repeal.

“And to those across the United States who think this may be a symbolic act, we have a message for them: this is not symbolic,” Bachmann told the House Wednesday, shortly before the vote. “This is why we were sent here and we will not stop until we repeal a President and put a President in the White House who will repeal this bill, until we repeal the current Senate, put in a Senate that will listen to the American people and repeal this bill.”

“So make no mistake, Mr. Speaker, we are here to stay and our resolve is firm,” Bachmann continued. “We will continue this fight until Obamacare is no longer the law of the land and until we can actually pass reform that will cut the cost of health care.”

The “symbolic” reasoning, (or in my own words from Wednesday: Policy-wise “as inconsequential as one can call any bill that will surely sail through the House”) is drawn because Senate Democratic leaders have pledged to let this bill wither and die without ever getting a full floor vote. Plenty of legislation ends in that way, including last session the Dem-backed health care public option and carbon cap-and-trade bills.

It’s highly unlikely that 51 votes exist in the Senate for wholesale repeal, and 60 votes certainly don’t exist to break an inevitable filibuster. Even more certainly, 67 votes aren’t there to override President Obama’s inevitable repeal. So in that sense, this is a bill that can’t pass.

However, that’s not stopping Republicans from trying. “I’ve got a problem with the assumption here that somehow the Senate can be a place for legislation to go into a cul-de-sac or dead end,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said. “The American people deserve a full hearing, they deserve to see this legislation go to the Senate for a full vote.”

And that viewpoint got a lift when McConnell promised the bill would indeed get a vote. “I hope the Senate will soon follow suit with a vote of its own,” he said. “The Democratic leadership in the Senate doesn’t want to vote on this bill. But I assure you, we will.”

Reid spokesman Jon Summers, avalanched with media requests for response to McConnell’s guarantee, released a brief statement in response.

“Unlikely.”

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