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US Lawmakers Prepare for Health Care Reform Showdown


Representative Henry Cuellar, right, walks into the House Rules Committee meeting, on Capitol Hill in Washington, regarding floor debate on legislation that would repeal the health care overhaul bill, 6 Jan 2011

Representative Henry Cuellar, right, walks into the House Rules Committee meeting, on Capitol Hill in Washington, regarding floor debate on legislation that would repeal the health care overhaul bill, 6 Jan 2011

The U.S. House of Representatives held a procedural vote Friday on repealing President Barack Obama's health care reform.

On the third day of the new Congress, Republicans, who now control the House, pushed forward Friday with legislation to undo the changes. They said Mr. Obama's reforms are hurting job creation and burdening future generations with debt.

Democrats argued repealing the law will add $230 billion to the nation's deficit by 2021 and leave an additional 30 million Americans without health care coverage.

The repeal effort is expected to fail, as Democratic leaders in the U.S. Senate promise they will block it.

Meanwhile, House Republicans are trying to fix problems caused when two new lawmakers voted several times despite not having taken their oaths of office.

Representatives Pete Sessions and Mike Fitzpatrick were at a reception at the Capitol when the rest of their colleagues were sworn-in.

The two saw the ceremony on television and raised their right hands in an effort to take the oath. Congressional officials say that is not valid.

Both representatives voted six times and Fitzpatrick even participated in the reading of the U.S. Constitution on the House floor Thursday, before the problem was discovered.

Sessions and Fitzpatrick were officially sworn-in Thursday. Republican leaders in the House are now pushing legislation to negate the illegal votes without impacting the final results.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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