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Senate nears OK of GOP bill unraveling health care law

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Republicans drove legislation toward Senate approval Thursday that would demolish President Barack Obama’s signature health care law and block Planned Parenthood’s federal money, edging toward a veto fight the GOP knows it will lose but believes will delight conservative voters in next year’s elections.

Congress has voted dozens of times to repeal all or parts of the 2010 statute. If the House as expected sends the Senate bill to Obama, the measure will become the first of its kind to reach the White House and be vetoed, an act Republicans say will highlight GOP priorities for voters.

“It’s defined by failure,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said of the law, blaming it for rising medical costs and citing problems encountered by Kentuckians. “It’s punctuated with hopelessness. And the scale of its many broken promises is matched only by the scale of its defenders’ rigid and unfeeling responses to them.”

The White House promised a veto, saying the bill would “take away critical benefits and health care coverage” from families. With Republicans lacking the two-thirds House and Senate majorities needed for a successful override, debate on the measure became a political messaging battlefield as both parties looked toward the 2016 presidential and congressional campaigns.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., mocked the Republicans’ “absurd attempt” to repeal the health care law and noted the large number of people — including in McConnell’s Kentucky — who’ve obtained coverage under the law.