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House Republicans Express Frustration With Absence Of Obamacare Alternative

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Remember “repeal and replace?" It’s the campaign slogan that helped Republicans gain control of the House in 2010 and keep that majority in 2012. The GOP has cast more than 40 votes to scrap or defund all or part of the law, but where’s the replacement?

The party hasn't voted on an alternative bill yet, which Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA 11th District) says is telling.

“Not having a vote exposes the Republicans for who and what they are on the subject, which is, you know, empty," Connolly says.

Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA 9th District) disputes that assessment.

“Do we have something to hide? No, we don't have anything to hide. Our problem is we have a cornucopia of ideas," Griffith says.

The majority of House Republicans have signed onto a bill that allows people to purchase health insurance across state lines while also reforming medical malpractice laws they argue drive up costs. Congressman Rob Wittman (R-VA 1st District) supports that bill, but says he understands why party leaders haven't brought it up for a vote.

“They've got other members. So I know they're trying to navigate through and figure out how to do things. So you know... they're listening, trying to come up and find that common ground to bring something forward," Wittman says.

Still, many House Republicans are getting increasingly frustrated with party leaders for not offering a GOP alternative to Obamacare. Congressman Scott Rigell (R-VA 2nd District) says its time has come.

“You know, we could advance — and I think we should advance — a complete replacement," Rigell says.

While Rigell wants a replacement vote, he says the political reality is Democrats control the White House and Senate, which ties the hands of Republican Party leaders.

“And the likelihood of that getting signed into law is nil, so I think that’s perhaps why leadership’s having difficulty getting a bill to the floor," Rigell says.

When lawmakers come back to Washington in September they face a large stack of unfinished business, like the border crisis and deteriorating situations overseas. Many rank and file Republicans are hoping that includes a chance to carry through on their promise to replace the health care law, but it isn’t looking likely.

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