Are you sure you want to delete this post?
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional Republicans are a step away from acquiring what they consider a political cudgel for next year's elections: A veto by President Barack Obama of legislation devastating his health care law and Planned Parenthood.
The Senate approved the legislation in a near party-line 52-47 vote Thursday, leaving it likely that the GOP-run House will ship the measure to the White House in days.
The bill would be the first to reach Obama's desk aimed at demolishing his 2010 health care overhaul, one of his proudest domestic achievements, and halting federal payments to Planned Parenthood. Congress has voted dozens of times to repeal or weaken the health law and repeatedly against Planned Parenthood's funding, but until now Democrats thwarted Republicans from shipping the legislation to the White House.
Republicans said a veto, which the White House has promised, will underscore that a GOP triumph in next year's presidential and congressional elections would mean repeal of a statute they blame for surging medical costs and insurers abandoning some markets. They lack the two-thirds House and Senate majorities needed to override vetoes, assuring that the bill's chief purpose will be for campaign talking points.
"President Obama will have a choice," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. "He can defend a status quo that's failed the middle class by vetoing the bill, or he can work toward a new beginning and better care by signing it."
Republicans blame the bill for surging health care costs and insurers abandoning some markets. Government officials said this week that health care spending grew at 5.3 percent in 2014, the steepest climb since Obama took office.
Democrats noted that under the law, millions of people have become insured and said their coverage has improved, with policies now required to insure a wide range of medical services.