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Obama vetoes Republicans' latest Obamacare repeal

AFP , Friday 8 Jan 2016
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US President Barack Obama speaks at a town hall meeting with CNN's Anderson Cooper on reducing gun violence at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, on January 7, 2016 (Photo: AFP)
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US President Barack Obama surprised no one Friday by vetoing a Congressional bill that would have gutted his landmark healthcare legislation.

Wielding the eighth veto of his presidency, Obama said the Republican-backed bill would "reverse the significant progress in improving healthcare in America."

The White House says the president's Affordable Care Act has given insurance to 17.6 million Americans who did not have it.

The bill Obama vetoed was the latest of dozens of attempts by Republicans to destroy the program, which they describe as an overreaching government takeover.

It passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday by a margin of 240 to 181, with one Democrat voting yes.

Republicans said the bill -- which also would have cut funding to women's healthcare provider Planned Parenthood -- highlights sharp policy differences between their party and rival Democrats during the 2016 presidential election year.

Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan, a Republican, said he would force a vote to override the veto. But that would require a two-thirds vote of both houses and is also expected to fail.

"It's no surprise that someone named Obama vetoed a bill repealing Obamacare," Ryan said, while vowing to take the process "all the way to the end under the Constitution."

Wednesday's vote was the first major congressional vote of 2016, coming just two months after Ryan became speaker.

Democrats dismissed the vote as the 62nd attempt by Republicans to repeal, defund or otherwise dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which narrowly passed a Democrat-led Congress in 2010.

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