Republican Leader John Boehner claimed a voter mandate to roll back the
Obama administration's health care overhaul on Wednesday morning, calling it a "monstrosity."
However, with Democrats still in control of the Senate, it would be
very difficult for House Republicans to repeal the measure.
The comments came as Republicans rode a wave of voter discontent and conservative outrage to capture a House of Representatives majority from US President Barack Obama's Democrats on Tuesday, rolling up their biggest gains since the Depression and ending the Democrats' reign after just four years.
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Boehner was in line to claim the leadership position known as speaker
and become second in line for the presidency after the vice president.
"Across the country right now, we are witnessing a repudiation of
Washington, a repudiation of big government, and a repudiation of
politicians who refuse to listen to the people," Boehner said.
The Republican party — energized by the ultraconservative tea party movement and voter disillusionment with Obama, incumbents and high unemployment — had netted 60 formerly Democratic seats and led in four more by early Wednesday, easily exceeding the 40 needed to gain a majority. Republicans piled up their biggest House gains since they added 80 seats in 1938.
A Republican takeover of the House will create a divided government, complicating Obama's agenda. Republicans have said they want to cut $100 billion in spending in a year and roll back Obama's overhauls of health care and financial regulations.
By mid-morning Wednesday, Republicans had captured 239 seats and were leading for four more, while Democrats had won 184 and led for eight.
Democrats now control the House by a 255-178 margin, with two vacancies. All 435 seats were on the ballot. The Democrats held their majority in the Senate, thought it was reduced.
Democrats will lose the House after only four years, the shortest a party has held the lower chamber since Republicans kept it for just two years from 1953-1955.
Obama called Boehner to say he looked forward to working with him and
the Republicans "to find common ground, move the country forward and get
things done for the American people," the White House said.
Boehner told the president he wanted to collaborate on voters' top
priorities, creating jobs and cutting spending. "That's what they
expect," the 10-term Republican said.
House Democrats defended their legislative record and campaign strategy
and said they would try to compromise with the Republicans.
"The outcome of the election does not diminish the work we have done for
the American people," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the first woman
to wield the speaker's gavel. "We must all strive to find common ground
to support the middle class, create jobs, reduce the deficit and move
our nation forward."