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McCain: We Will Defund Health Care Reform

March 31, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Sen. John McCain [R, AZ] describes an emerging Republican strategy for undoing the Democrats’ new health care reform law.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Thursday backed a plan that he says would allow the Republicans to avoid a presidential veto while negating the effects of a new healthcare law.

The 2008 GOP presidential nominee backed a plan that would strip funding from the healthcare law, which he says would not take an override to a veto to accomplish.

“When I say repeal, people say you’re not going to be able to do it,” he said on KQTH FM Radio. “I am confident we will get majorities in both houses in the fall. And that means the power of the purse…If we cut off the money, it doesn’t take an override to a veto.”

To be clear, appropriations bills, which are the legislative vehicles Congress uses to disperse money to the government, can be vetoed by the President and would require a veto override from Congress to then become law. What McCain is talking about, presumably, is engaging in a game of appropriations chicken.

A Republican-led Congress would send Obama an appropriations bill minus the money for enacting the health care law and dare him to veto it. If he vetoes it, no funds are appropriated and unless Congress folds and sends it back with the health care money included, funding for the government would start to run out. Most of the health care funding would be contained in the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill, which funds a lot of the programs that get the most use, like public schools, low-income heating assistance, unemployment insurance, job training, and public broadcasting, so it would be a very high-stakes game.

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