And for sure, there were exceptions Tuesday to the rule of restraint that seemed to be in effect.
Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., his voice rising as he addressed Republicans, said, "What in the world are you guys doing" before he caught himself in mid-sentence. "What in the world are our colleagues doing" he said in more tempered tone of voice before going on to challenge their effort to repeal the bill.
Across the aisle, Reps. Jeff Landry, R-La, and Joe Walsh, R-Ill., both referred to the existing law as "job killing," the reference Ryan and other more senior members of their party had sheathed.
While lawmakers toned down the debate, the Obama administration released a study saying repeal of the existing law could threaten between 50 million and 129 million non-elderly men, women and children with denial of affordable health insurance because they have pre-existing medical conditions.
The administration built its estimate on changes in the law that already have taken effect or might take effect by 2014. Republicans have promised to replace the existing law with legislation that protects patients and makes affordable coverage more widely available.
A companion measure to the repeal legislation directs several committees to produce a replacement measure but does not include any timetable.
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