The new Congress starts on Wednesday and the Republican-led House will vote to repeal or overhaul the healthcare bill passed in the last session. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) said to Fox News Sunday, the vote will take place before the State of the Union address. He also said Republicans have 242 votes and will have additional votes from Democrats. But is healthcare the number one priority during this early session?
The vote will most likely not pass and, in any event, the chances of it being repealed or overhauled are low. The Democrats still have the majority in the Senate and the White House. Even if the vote passed in the House, it will most likely not make it pass the Senate. If it did somehow make it pass the Senate, President Obama will veto it. The House and Senate would need two-thirds of their members to vote to override the veto.
The number one priority should be job creation. That was number one on the Pledge to America platform the Republicans ran on during the midterm election. So why the focus on healthcare so early? The republicans believe that the midterm election was a mandate on healthcare reform. Although it was a part of it, the lack of jobs, wall street, and unemployment were the higher concerns. The states are currently fighting it in the courts and most of the provisions start in 2014.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the last unemployment figure was at 9.8% and 15.1 million Americans are currently unemployed. 3.3 million manufacturing jobs have been lost over the last ten years, with Los Angeles losing the most at over 301,000. These numbers should make Congress jump into action immediately and work on job creation. Healthcare overhaul can wait, unemployed Americans cannot.