Local Politics

Burr: Senate Republicans will work to alter health reform law

Posted January 4, 2011 7:02 p.m. EST
Updated January 5, 2011 5:50 a.m. EST

— On the eve of the start of his second term in office, U.S. Sen. Richard Burr said Tuesday that he and fellow Republicans will "work aggressively" to change the federal health care reform law in the coming weeks.

Republicans won control of the U.S. House in the November election, and the new majority has scheduled a vote for next week on whether to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law last March.

Democrats still control the Senate, however, so the measure isn't likely to make it to Obama's desk.

"I don't think it's going to be symbolic because I think that the House is going to come really close to a veto-proof margin (for a repeal)," Burr said. "Even in the Senate, if we can't get that legislation up and passed, I think that sends a loud message about what the American people said via the Nov. 2 elections, and I think the president ought to listen very closely."

Senate Republicans will try to withhold funding for some aspects of the reform law to prevent them from being implemented, he said.

"We're going to try to give assurance to the American people and to employers that there is a predictable future, but they may just have to let us sort through some of the changes first," he said.

Republicans and Democrats alike face challenges as the 112th Congress convenes, Burr said.

"I think we both face an equal challenge, and that's to turn the direction of this country around, to bring fiscal sanity back and to give the American people some hope that we can pull back from the brink of the abyss, which is financially where we are," he said.

He said he hopes Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid won't try to block the efforts of Republicans in the chamber.

"If Sen. Reid will allow the Senate to operate like it historically has, where legislation is amended and debated, we'll see bipartisan products that the American people can be proud of," he said.