Joe Biden returns to Washington, calls GOP's Obamacare repeal a 'tax bill'


Former vice president Joe Biden appeared on the Capitol steps alongside Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Polosi on Wednesday, at a rally marking the seventh anniversary of Obamacare.

The press event comes as former President Barack Obama's signature Affordable Care Act hangs in the balance. House Republicans are expected on Thursday to take up the American Health Care Act (AHCA) -- the GOP's Obamacare replacement legislation -- which could overhaul the previous health care law in one fell swoop.

"You heard eloquent statements from those who have benefits and will be devoted by the repeal of the Affordable Care Act," Biden said at Wednesday's event. "To me, what the ACA was all about ... it means an awful lot of people that I grew up with are able to go to bed now and not stare at the ceiling and wonder what happens if my wife develops breast cancer or I get a heart attack."

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"This bill is about peace of mind," Biden added, emphasizing the importance of the Affordable Care Act.

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President Trump paid a visit to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to rally support for the bill, telling Republicans he expects they will lose their seats in 2018 if they don't vote for the legislation.

A recent Politico/Morning Consult poll found that public support for the AHCA has fallen from 46 percent to 41 percent over the last week.

Approval still outweighs disapproval 41 percent to 38 percent, but more people strongly disapprove of the bill than strongly approve.

Conservative Republicans have voiced concern with the AHCA since its release, including Sen. Rand Paul who deemed the pass at health care reform "Obamacare Lite." Biden says the GOP's attempt to pass a tax bill off as health care legislation is "classic Republican politics."

"This is a tax bill for them," Biden said. "This is all about making sure that hard working people and middle class people who seem to be doing alright in their income, except the cost of their income — and saying, 'OK, we're going to transfer close to a trillion dollars to people that don't need it.'"

Biden went on to comment on the state of the Republican party, saying:

There's nothing that has fundamentally changed in the Republican party in the last 12-15 years, except now they've got a president whose a little more colorful."

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Someone near him responded, saying, "Well that's a polite word."

In true Biden form, the former vice president responded, noting, "That is a polite word, but it's about time we're polite."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, California Governor Jerry Brown, ACA beneficiaries and other House Democrats also attended Wednesday's rally.

RELATED: American Health Care Act