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Photo: Associated Press

At least for now, Republicans are going ahead with their original plan to only attempt a partial PPACA repeal. 

The House Rules Committee voted Wednesday to only target certain funding-related provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, such as the employer mandate, the individual mandate and the Cadillac Tax.  

The decision comes after Heritage Action, a powerful conservative political action committee, began urging lawmakers to reject a partial repeal in favor of a full repeal. Heritage rejected arguments that only certain provisions could be passed through reconciliation, a process that is only allowed to be used for budgetary items that are deemed to reduce the budget deficit.  

Heritage and some conservative pundits argued that the entire health care law could be killed via reconciliation, based on the premise that doing so would reduce the deficit. But Rep. Tom Price, R-Georgia, didn’t buy that argument, reports The Hill.  

“It’s important for all of us to remember that reconciliation is a powerful tool but it is a limited tool,” Price told the committee. “It’s no silver budget and in order to ensure the success of this effort, we must respect those limitations.” 

At the same time, however, the likely incoming speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, has made clear that he wants to lead a GOP caucus focused on achieving tangible center-right policies, not one in which members are constantly fighting each other to prove their commitment to pure right-wing ideology.   

It’s not as if House Republicans have not had more than their say on the full PPACA. They have already voted scores of times to scrap the law entirely over the past five years, but they always did so in the with the knowledge that it would go nowhere in the Senate, whose rules require a vote from three-fifths of the chamber to advance any legislation.  

Reconciliation bills, however, are the big exception to Senate rules. Debate on them is strictly limited, which prevents the minority party from blocking them through a filibuster.  

And yet, even if the bill passes the Senate, it will undoubtedly be killed by President Obama’s veto, which has no chance of being overridden. But having the entire Congress pass an Obamacare repeal will be considered a political victory for Republicans. 

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Jack Craver

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