Protecting his signature domestic achievement, President Barack Obama on Friday vetoed legislation to repeal his health care law, saying the measure "would reverse the significant progress we have made in improving health care in America."
Republican lawmakers have pushed many repeal measures since 2010, when Obama signed the health care program into law. This was the first of those bills to clear Congress and reach his desk.
Republicans have argued that the law doesn't work.
In his veto message to Congress, Obama disagreed. Obama said the Affordable Care Act includes fairer rules and stronger consumer protections "that have made health care coverage more affordable, more attainable and more patient-centered. And it is working."
The veto was expected. But Republicans claimed victory with the vote, arguing that they met two goals by finally passing a repeal bill: keeping a promise to voters in an election year, and showing that they are capable of repealing the law if a Republican wins November's presidential election.
House Speaker Paul Ryan issued a statement following the president's veto, saying the House will hold a vote to override it and promising to take "this process all the way to the end under the constitution."
“It’s no surprise that someone named Obama vetoed a bill repealing Obamacare," Speaker Ryan said in a video published on YouTube. "We have now shown that there is a clear path to repealing Obamacare without 60 votes in the Senate. So, next year, if we’re sending this bill to a Republican president, it will get signed into law."
The Senate passed the measure last year under special rules that protected it from a Democratic filibuster, and the House passed it this week.