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House to resume health care repeal effort next week

By Dana Bash and Deirdre Walsh, CNN
  • House Republicans want a vote next week on repealing the health care overhaul
  • The GOP push to repeal the measure was delayed by the massacre in Arizona
  • Democrats: A CBO report says a repeal of the law would add $230 billion to the debt

Baltimore (CNN) -- After a weeklong pause in legislative business to honor the victims of the Arizona massacre, House Republicans intend to resume regular congressional business next week with a vote to repeal the health care law, a top GOP aide said Thursday.

"Americans have legitimate concerns about the cost of the new health care law and its affect on the ability to grow jobs in our country," said Brad Dayspring, spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia.

The health care repeal vote had been scheduled for this week, but GOP leaders postponed it after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona, was wounded and six people were killed by a gunman Saturday.

In the wake of the shooting spree in Arizona, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have talked about working harder to create a more civil discourse. Dayspring's statement subtly suggested that Republicans understand that the tone and tenor of debate -- even on a deeply partisan and emotional issue like health care -- will be closely watched.

"It is our expectation that the debate will continue to focus on those substantive policy differences surrounding the new law," he said.

While a successful repeal vote would fulfill a GOP campaign promise, the measure is considered to have virtually no chance of surviving either the Democratic-controlled Senate or a promised presidential veto.

Democrats have strongly criticized the new Republican majority for pushing for a final vote on the health care measure without allowing consideration of any amendments, which they have characterized as a violation of GOP pledges for a more open legislative process.

Democrats have also seized on a recent analysis by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, which concluded that a repeal of the health care overhaul will add $230 billion to the federal debt over the next decade.

Dayspring's announcement came as House Republicans prepared for a three-day retreat in Baltimore. While members of the new House majority were already scheduled to attend meetings with GOP governors, pollsters and experts on the economy, Republican aides now say questions of how to operate in light of the Tucson shooting also will be discussed.

CNN's Alan Silverleib contributed to this report