The Senate Feb. 2 voted down a bill to repeal the Obama White House’s health care reform measure.
The bill, approved in the Republican-controlled House, fell in the Senate, as expected.
The vote, a 47 votes for, 51 against, tally that followed party lines, was on a measure to allow a health care reform repeal bill to move forward. The measure required 60 votes to move forward.
Congressional Democrats said the measure’s failure was a foregone conclusion, while their GOP counterparts said the effort still provided a positive result for the party.
“It comes as no surprise that the attempt to repeal Health Care Reform was rejected by the Senate today. It was a waste of time,” Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.) said in a statement. “Instead of focusing on creating jobs, their focus turned to putting insurance companies back in charge.”
Cleaver said a repeal of health care reform will disproportionately affect Africa-Americans.
“Repealing the Affordable Care Act would negatively impact all Americans, but especially people of color,” he continued. “Almost every aspect of the Affordable Care Act positively impacts the African American community: from protecting those with preexisting conditions, ensuring dependent coverage, providing vital preventive services and care, making health care affordable for small businesses, and increasing Medicare benefit coverage.”
However, his Republican counterparts vowed to continue their efforts to repeal the law. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said the Obama administration’s version of health care reform destroys jobs, and said he will do whatever it takes to regain control of the Senate and allow a repeal bill to move forward.
“Republicans remain committed to our promise to repeal and replace President Obama’s government takeover of health care and will continue to work to that end,” Priebus said in a statement. “If today showed us anything, it is that we must work even harder over the next two years to take back the Senate and elect a Republican President to the White House in 2012.”
Other Republican members of Congress said the repeal effort was just the beginning of an effort to undo Obama’s health care reform initiative in the build-up to 2012 Presidential elections.
“These are the first steps in a long road that will culminate in 2012, whereby we will expose the flaws and the weaknesses in this legislation,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told the Associated Press.
The fight will continue in courtrooms and on political battlefields over the next year and a half. Two federal judges have ruled all or portions of the law unconstitutional, while two others have upheld the law in its entirety, and the issue is expected to find its way to the Supreme Court, possibly before the 2012 elections.