In early GOP win on health care repeal, Congress OKs budget

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. listens during a news conference with Vice President-elect Mike Pence, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017, following a closed-door meeting with the GOP to discuss repeal of President Obama's health care law now that the GOP is in charge of White House and Congress. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ascendant Republicans drove a budget through Congress on Friday that gives them an early but critical victory in their crusade to scrap President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

The vote trains the spotlight on whether they and Donald Trump can deliver on repeated pledges to not just erase that statute but replace it.

Demonstrating the GOP’s willingness to plunge into a defining but risky battle, the House used a near party-line 227-198 roll call to approve a measure that prevents Senate Democrats from derailing a future bill, thus far unwritten, annulling and reshaping Obama’s landmark 2010 law. The budget, which won Senate approval early Thursday, does not need the president’s signature.

“The ‘Unaffordable’ Care Act will soon be history!” Trump tweeted Friday in a dig at the statute’s name, the Affordable Care Act. Trump takes the presidential oath next Friday.

The real work looms in coming months as the new administration and congressional Republicans write legislation to erase much of the health care law and replace it with a GOP version. Republicans have internal divisions over what that would look like, though past GOP proposals have cut much of the existing law’s federal spending and eased coverage requirements while relying more on tax benefits and letting states make decisions.

 

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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