Congress isn't meeting this month, but that hasn't stopped a group of conservative Republicans in recent days from devising a plan they hope will, as they've promised for seven years, repeal Obamacare.
House Freedom Caucus members are looking to force a straight repeal of the Affordable Care Act, known as the ACA or more (un)popularly Obamacare, and the health care law's related taxes.
The erasure of the law, however, wouldn't actually take place for two years if the House and then Senate agree. During that time, say the measure's supporters, they would come up with replacement health legislation.
Roundabout repeal effort: The conservative GOP group has launched a petition to, in legislative lingo, discharge a health care repeal measure to the House floor for a vote. To accomplish that, the petition needs 218 signatures.
In taking this legislative tack, discharge petition supporters noted that nearly every current House Republican has voted to repeal the ACA in the past. They want to challenge their colleagues to cast the same vote again.
"Republicans already sent this bill to the president in 2016, and should do it again," said Rep. Mark Walker (R-North Carolina), chair of the Republican Study Committee, in a statement supporting the discharge petition. "The only thing that changed since then is that with Donald Trump as president, this bill would actually be signed into law."
The same approach was tried last month in the Senate. Rep. Thomas Garrett (R-Virginia), sponsor of the House effort, said the 45-to-52 failure in upper chamber was in part because Senators didn't believe a straight repeal without an immediate replacement health measure could pass the House.
Garrett says his discharge petition will show that the Senate's excuse for not repealing Obamacare is not valid.
Will House Republicans get support from their constituents for a separate ACA repeal and replace while they're back home in their districts this month?
Garrett believes so. We'll find out in a couple of weeks.
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