WASHINGTON — The Senate's Republican leader says congressional lawmakers can and should vote to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law, repeatedly if necessary.
If Obama should veto laws repealing the health care overhaul, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says, the House should cancel funding for its programs. As for the Senate, he says that senators should vote against what he calls the law's "most egregious provisions."
In remarks prepared for a speech Thursday to the conservative Heritage Foundation, McConnell says it's all part of the effort to deny Obama a second term in the White House in 2012.Story: Voters say they cast their ballots against Obama, Pelosi
Tuesday's election gave Republicans at least 46 Senate seats next year, making McConnell the leader of a strengthened minority.
Repealing the health care law, with its mandates and subsidies to extend health insurance to nearly all Americans, has been a Republican rallying cry for months but Obama, with his veto power, and the Democrats still in control of the Senate stand in the way. Several Republicans indicated their challenge to the law won't happen overnight when they take power.
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"I think it is important for us to lay the groundwork before we begin to repeal this monstrosity," Republican House leader John Boehner said. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who survived a tea party challenge in Nevada, said "I'm ready for some tweaking" on the health care law but would fight its repeal. Obama, too, indicated he was open to changes, saying Republicans who complain about the burden on small businesses might have a point. But he was not about to see his signature achievement unravel at its core.
In the heady election aftermath, some Republicans cautioned their own that they have work to do in building public trust when many Americans are fed up with both parties.Vote: Agree or disagree with Boehner on health plan?
"We've been given a second chance and a golden opportunity," said Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, No. 2 Republican in the House. But, he added, "People want to see results."
Sizing up the power shift, Reid said he wants to preserve Obama's health care law and let taxes rise on upper income Americans, but "I'm not bullheaded."
"If we need to work something out with the people who are really rich, I'll have to look at that," he said. "If there's some tweaking we need to do with the health care bill, I'm ready for some tweaking. But I'm not going to in any way denigrate the great work we did as a country, and saving America from bankruptcy because of the insurance industry bankrupting us."
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