Morning Action: House Votes to Repeal Obamacare in Its Entirety

OBAMACARE.  Thursday, the House Republicans voted to repeal Obamacare in full.  They were joined by two Democrats (sub. req’d):

House Republicans renewed their long-standing effort to overturn the 2010 health care overhaul, passing a bill Thursday to repeal the law in its entirety.

The chamber voted 229-195 to advance the bill (HR 45). Two Democrats, Jim Matheson of Utah and Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, joined a unified Republican Conference in backing the measure.

The legislation, sponsored by Minnesota Republican Michele Bachmann, is the first such effort in the current Congress. The bill marks the GOP’s third attempt to fully repeal the law (PL 111-148,PL 111-152) since taking control of the House in 2011 — none of the attempts advanced in the Democratic Senate. In total, Republicans have voted to undo the law, or parts of it, more than 35 times, with the last vote for a total repeal in July 2012 as a symbolic gesture following the Supreme Court’s decision to largely uphold the law.

The bill passed Thursday comes more than three weeks after House GOP leadership unexpectedly pulled from floor consideration a measure (HR 1549) that would have extended enrollment in the high-risk pools by transferring money from another part of the law. Several conservative groups, like Heritage Action for America and Club for Growth, blasted the bill for attempting to fix the law and encouraged the House to vote on a full repeal.

IMMIGRATION.  The House Gang of Eight group has reached an “agreement in principle,” on immigration (sub. req’d):

Members of the group emerged from a nearly two-hour closed-door session Thursday evening to announce the deal but stayed mum on the specifics.

“We have an agreement on the bill in principle,” said Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, a member of the group. “I’m not going to talk about the details.”

Thursday’s meeting had been billed as the last chance for the group by Republican members, who threatened to proceed with a series of incremental GOP immigration bills should the negotiators fail to strike a deal. The agreement ensures that the members will continue to meet in order to draft comprehensive legislation.

The deal comes after months of talks that had bogged down over the creation of a temporary guest worker program and over the question of health insurance requirements for undocumented immigrants eligible for legalization.

Frustrated GOP participants on Wednesday threatened to walk away from the talks if Thursday’s meeting did not lead to an agreement. Earlier Thursday, Carter said he would introduce an immigration bill in June, with or without the support of the Democratic members of the group.

Those issues now appear to have been resolved.

KEYSTONE. A House panel voted in favor of legislation that would allow construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline without presidential permit, which would be very helpful in light of the president’s continued stalling (sub. req’d):

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved the bill 33-24. DemocratsSean Patrick Maloney of New York and Cheri Bustos of Illinois joined Republicans in support of the measure.

Panel Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., said he expects the legislation on the House floor next week. The measure (HR 3) would circumvent President Barack Obama’s 2012 decision to conduct further review of the proposed 1,700-mile-long pipeline, which would carry crude oil from Canada’s oil sands region to Texas refineries in the Gulf Coast.

The House passed a bill last year that would have set a specific deadline for the president’s decision on the project, with some Democratic support. This year, several Democrats who voted for last year’s bill expressed concern that the current bill would eliminate the presidential approval requirement and limit opportunities for judicial review.

IRS. Heritage’s John Von Kannon explains how riddled with bureaucratic problems the IRS truly is:

As bad as the political persecution of conservatives by the IRS is—and it is really bad—if the IRS were to replace half of its workforce with tea party members, problems would remain. Let me explain how I know this.

Even after the current scandal is cleaned up, the IRS’s built-in bureaucratic problems will remain. The tax code is too long and too complicated. The IRS has too much power and will be granted more when Obamacare kicks in. And the union will continue to bargain on behalf of the employees, no matter how their service affects the “customers.”

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