(Story updated at 4:07 p.m. ET.)
Facing a veto threat from the White House and with no mention of similar legislation in the Senate, House members began debate Tuesday afternoon on legislation to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The lower chamber began five hours of debate on the repeal bill with familiar rhetoric on both sides. Republicans said the law must be overturned, while Democrats said millions have already benefitted from a law that the U.S. Supreme Court has found constitutional.
“This bill takes away the health security for 30 million people who need health coverage over the next decade, which is more than the entire populations of New York and Ohio," said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), referring to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's (R-Va.) repeal bill. "Here we go again—wasting time that should be spent on improving the economy and putting people to work,” he added. Waxman serves on the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) cited the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office's statistics that about 20 million Americans could lose their coverage as a result of the law, while Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, said Medicaid will consume 60% of Pennsylvania's state budget after the law is fully enacted, compared with its current level of 30%.