House GOP Leader on Repealing Obamacare: Not Now

By Craig Millward | November 5, 2014 | 2:30pm EST


House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). (AP)

( – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said he planned to focus first on getting the  economy moving and would not press for a congressional vote on repealing Obamacare until “we have the ability to replace it” with some other health care policy  “at the same time.”

On Fox News on Wednesday, when electoral returns seemed to show Republicans winning the Senate, in addition to the House, host Megyn Kelly repeatedly asked McCarthy, the second most powerful member of the House, whether he would press for a vote to repeal the unpopular Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare

“Congressman, we have seen repeated votes, over 40 votes in the House of Representatives to repeal Obamacare, never to be seen in the U.S. Senate, will you pursue that?” said Kelly.

McCarthy did not answer the question but said, “Well, the Senate has that opportunity. We have found Obamacare has harmed the economy, the 40 hour work week--”

Kelly then asked, “But are you going to do it again, are you going to press it again as another agenda issue?”

McCarthy said, “Well, I think we would repeal Obamacare and replace it. Replace it with a healthcare system that empowers the individual to have the relationship with the doctor, not with big government.”

Kelly continued , “So you would like to see that brought up for another vote in both the House and the Senate?”

McCarthy did not answer directly but said, “I would like to see a new healthcare system that actually lowers premiums instead of raising it, that actually empowers an individual to make decisions—“

At that point, Kelly said, “I know, but with respect sir those sound like talking points. I'm trying to get an answer on whether you are going to press for another vote to repeal Obamacare in the House and push for one--”

McCarthy then said,  “I would press for one when we have the ability to replace it at the same time. But the first thing I am going to start on is the economy to getting it moving again.”

Last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), now the incoming Senate Majority Leader, would not say whether he would push to repeal Obamacare if the GOP won control of the Senate.

In an interview with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, McConnell said, "Well, it would take 60 votes in the Senate. No one thinks we’re going to have 60 Republicans, and it would take a president, presidential signature. No one thinks we’re going to get that. So the question is: What can you do about it? I’d like to put the senate Democrats in the position of voting on the most unpopular parts of this law and see if we can put it on the president’s desk.”

With his wife Elaine Chao, left, looking on, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell addresses his supporters. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

However, back in 2012, when asked about repeal, McConnell said, “"Yes, the [Supreme Court’s] Chief Justice said it’s a tax, and taxes are clearly what we call reconcilable. That’s the kind of measure that can be pursued with 51 votes in the Senate, and if I’m the leader of the majority next year, I commit to the American people that the repeal of Obamacare will be job one."

Last week, Oct. 30, McConnell’s office released a statement that said, “"Leader McConnell is and has always been committed to the full repeal of Obamacare, and he'll continue to lead efforts to repeal and replace it with patient-centered reforms that enable greater choice at lower costs. He knows it won't be easy, but he also believes that if Republicans are fortunate enough to take back the majority we’ll owe it to the American people to try through votes on full repeal, the bill’s most onerous provisions, and reconciliation.”

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