GOP leader says Congress has no plans to take up flag burning


NEW YORK (AP) — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy says there are no plans for Congress to take action against flag burning.

The California Republican was responding Tuesday to President-elect Donald Trump’s tweet saying people should face jail time or lose their citizenship for burning the flag.

The First Amendment to the Constitution protects flag burning as an exercise of the right to free speech. McCarthy was joining other Republicans who refused to back up Trump’s approach.

McCarthy told reporters Tuesday that he does not “support or believe in the idea of people burning the American flag. I support the First Amendment.”

McCarthy also said Congress could vote to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law before coming up with a replacement.

The approach could allow congressional Republicans to take swift action on one of President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign promises — while putting off the hard part.

McCarthy wasn’t specific on timing in his comments Tuesday.

But the California Republican suggested Congress could vote on a repeal while putting off the date for it to take effect. He said that could help bring people to the table to come up with the best replacement.

Six years after Obamacare became law, congressional Republicans have voted dozens of times to repeal it in part or full, but still haven’t unified behind legislation to replace it.

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