Texas Republicans vote to defund health care law


McClatchy Washington Bureau

Despite the risk of another government shutdown, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, the only lawmaker representing Tarrant County who was in the U.S. House of Representatives the last the time the federal bureaucracy was shuttered in 1995, nonetheless stood firm Friday with four other Republicans who represent the region and voted to defund Obamacare.

House Republicans, who have tried and failed 41 times to repeal the health care law, included the provision as part of a bill that temporarily funds the federal government for the next three months.

Freshman Democrat U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey of Texas opposed the measure, accusing Republicans of “playing political games” on what was virtually a party line vote, 230-189. The bill now goes to the Senate where it has little chance of survival.

Democrats, who control the Senate, as well as several Republicans, have warned that an impasse between the House and Senate and a promised presidential veto could lead to another partial government shutdown.

But GOP House members said that the defunding effort, pushed most prominently by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, should be passed by the Senate.

“I held nine town hall meetings and at each one people spoke passionately about the real consequences Obamacare will cause in their lives if it is fully implemented,” said Barton. “The Affordable Care Act has changed the landscape of healthcare in our country. It should be about the private and personal relationship between a patient and a doctor. Instead, this law turns it into a complicated web of rules and regulations that now involve government boards and the IRS.”

Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, who stood alongside House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., during a raucous post-vote rally, was also critical of the health care plan, while cautioning against a government shutdown.

“This resolution gives Congress and the administration time to come together on a comprehensive budget agreement that reflects the country’s priorities and puts us on a track to a balanced budget,” said Granger. “It is the responsibility of Congress to keep the government open and working on behalf of the people. We cannot afford a government shutdown that would weaken our national security, cut payments to our troops, and introduce more uncertainty into the economy.”

U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, thanked Cruz for his summer-long effort to demand a vote defunding Obamacare.

“We wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for his vision and his leadership,” said Burgess.

He sounded a slightly different note than many conservative Republicans who were outraged at Cruz’ statements earlier in the week that the Senate would never agree on defunding and that it would be up to the House to wage the fight. The Senate votes next week.

“We give him what he asked for and before we even send it over there, he does a press release saying that it can’t pass,” said U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas in an interview Thursday. “Where’s some of that Ted Cruz charm? It’s time for the Senate to do its job.”

After the House vote on Friday, Cruz was back board.

“Senate Republicans should stand side-by-side with courageous House Republicans,” he said. “The fight to save America from Obamacare is just beginning. It may well go back and forth from the House and Senate several times and a united Republican front means that (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid and the president cannot ignore the American people.”

In a letter to the Senate, all 24 Republican House members from Texas called on Republicans “and like-minded Democrats” to pass the House bill.

Burgess, a physician, said that President Barack Obama’s administration “has all but admitted the failure of this legislation as they’ve continually delayed and discarded of parts of the law.”

U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin, said, “This is a vote that Americans have been asking for.”

But Veasey said that with the looming threat of a government shutdown on Oct. 1, “instead of working together toward a bipartisan compromise, today, we saw Republican leadership continue to play political games by attempting, for the 42nd time, to repeal the Affordable Care Act.”

Email: mrecio@mcclatchydc.com: Twitter: @maria_e_recio

Read more Politics Wires stories from the Miami Herald

ADVANCE FOR USE SATURDAY, AUG. 30, 2014, AND THEREAFTER- File - In this Jan. 6, 2014 file photo, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter delivers his State of the State address inside the House chambers at the state Capitol building in Boise, Idaho. Otter, who is seeking a third-term, could face a tight race against Democratic challenger A.J. Balukoff, a millionaire who has said he'll spend as much as he needs to win.

    Tea party could make race tougher for Butch Otter

    Idaho's red state roots haven't faded, but political infighting inside its Republican Party has left many feeling disenfranchised with the so-called traditional GOP candidates who will appear on this year's election ballot.

  • Wisconsin governor skirts touchy casino decision

    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker portrays himself as a man of action, willing to take on tough political fights. It's a huge theme in his re-election campaign, underscored in his 2013 political memoir, "Unintimidated."

North Korean women, dressed in traditional Chogori watch a pro wrestling exhibition, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014 in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Koreans got their first look at pro wrestling in about 20-years on Saturday when former NFL lineman Bob "The Beast" Sapp, and 20 other fighters from around the world took to the ring for an exhibition in Pyongyang, put together by colourful Japanese pro-wrestler Kanji "Antonio" Inoki, who is now a member of parliament.

    Pro wrestling returns to the ring in North Korea

    North Koreans got their first look at pro wrestling in about 20 years on Saturday when an ex-NFL lineman and 20 other grapplers from around the world took to the ring for an exhibition put together by a charismatic former Japanese pro-wrestler who is now a member of parliament.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category