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House set for health care repeal vote

By the CNN Wire Staff
House Speaker John Boehner has scheduled a floor debate on repealing health care for Tuesday and a vote the next day.
House Speaker John Boehner has scheduled a floor debate on repealing health care for Tuesday and a vote the next day.
  • The House is set to vote on a repeal of the health care overhaul on Wednesday
  • A repeal of the overhaul has little chance of passing the Democratic Senate
  • The debate over a repeal may be toned down in the wake of the Arizona shootings

Washington (CNN) -- The House of Representatives is set to vote on a repeal of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul this week, fulfilling a campaign promise of congressional Republicans and setting up a clash with the White House and Senate Democrats.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has scheduled a floor debate on the measure for Tuesday and a vote on Wednesday. The new GOP majority, in keeping with its "repeal and replace" mantra, will instruct various House committees to craft alternatives to the law.

"Repealing the job crushing health care law is critical to boosting small business job creation and growing the economy," Boehner wrote online Monday.

The health care repeal vote had initially been scheduled for last week, but GOP leaders postponed it after the January 8 shootings in Arizona that killed six people and wounded 13, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona.

The measure is expected to pass the Republican-led House, but is believed to have little chance of clearing the Democratic-controlled Senate or surviving a certain presidential veto.

Republicans have acknowledged the virtual impossibility of an outright repeal, and have indicated there will likely be attempts to defund portions of the measure or eliminate specific provisions in the months ahead.

A couple of key Democrats said Sunday they were prepared to cooperate in the elimination of certain measures considered excessively burdensome to businesses. Leading members of both parties have expressed concern over a rule, scheduled to take effect in 2012, requiring businesses to issue 1099 tax forms to any individual or corporation from which they purchase over $600 in goods or services in a year.

"A lot of our small businesses came to me (after the health care overhaul passed) and said there's a lot of paperwork I now have to fill out," Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, noted Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation." "We can change that. That's something we can absolutely agree on."

Promises of a more civil discourse in the wake of the shootings may cause some representatives to tone down their rhetoric over what continues to be a sharply polarizing and emotional issue. Boehner himself appears to have backed away from past assertions that Obama's overhaul is a job "killing" piece of legislation.

"I think that violent discourse in political life -- right, left or center -- is wrong and should be rejected," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press." "We, as elected officials, have an obligation to try and tone that down."

On "Face the Nation," Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, said, "I think that we Republicans, and I think Democrats alike, will realize that if we tone down the rhetoric sometimes our debate is more effective from our own side. It's better to have a more civil tone and a civil debate. And I think it behooves all of us to do so."

The health care debate during the last Congress was marked by months of acrimonious partisan exchanges, including a series of angry town hall meetings held by congressional Democrats during the summer of 2009. A number of threats were reported and congressional district offices were vandalized at the time.

Republicans continue to insist that the health care overhaul -- Obama's signature domestic accomplishment -- will hamper economic growth while doing little to control skyrocketing medical costs. Democrats have noted, among other things, the increased number of Americans covered by the law. They've also seized on a recent analysis from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office noting that a repeal of the overhaul would add $230 billion to the federal debt by 2021.

Democrats argue the analysis undermines Republicans' emphasis on fiscal responsibility.

GOP leaders, in turn, insist the analysis was based on unrealistic economic and fiscal assumptions originally provided by Democrats.

Nonetheless, Republicans have exempted a repeal of the health care law from new rules prohibiting legislation from adding to the federal debt.

CNN's Alan Silverleib and Tom Cohen contributed to this report