WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives on Friday voted to bring the repeal of the health care overhaul to the floor for formal debate even as the latest poll showed that Americans only slightly supported overturning one of the signature efforts of President Barack Obama's administration.
In what was essentially a party-line vote, the House approved the rule required to bring the repeal measure to the floor for final consideration next week. The vote was 236-181, with two lawmakers voting present.
It was a predictable partisan argument, with Republicans saying they wanted to fulfill a campaign promise to vote for repeal while Democrats argued that the new GOP majority was pushing to roll back a measure that will hurt health care and will increase the federal deficit.
"We are doing what we promised the American people to do," Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., the Rules Committee chairman, argued on the floor.
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., sounded the Democratic defense of their hallmark health program. He cited a recent Congressional Budget Office finding that a repeal would add $230 billion to the deficit, and he blamed Republicans for refusing to allow amendments despite pledges to have a more open legislative process.
"Worse than Republicans' broken promises is what this will do to children," and others needing health care, he argued.
The House next week is expected to pass the repeal, but it is unlikely to be approved in the Senate. If it did pass, it would surely be vetoed by Obama.
The latest Gallup poll released Friday showed 46 percent of Americans favor repeal while 40 percent say they want the law to stand. About one in seven of those polled said they had no opinion. About 78 percent of Republicans favored repeal while 64 percent of Democrats said they opposed repeal.
Results are based on a survey of 1,025 adults from Jan. 4-5. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.