WASHINGTON - House Republicans plan to bring up a vote to repeal the health care overhaul early in the new Congress that opens Wednesday, at least before President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address later this month, a key GOP lawmaker said yesterday.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) incoming chairman of one of the House committees that oversees health policy, said undoing the Democrats' health reform law would be a top priority for the new GOP-controlled Congress. Upton said on "Fox News Sunday" that he believes there may be enough opposition in the new House to reach the two-thirds majority required to override a presidential veto. Short of that, he said House leaders will "go after this bill piece by piece."

"As part of our pledge, we said that we would bring up a vote to repeal health care early," Upton said. "That will happen before the president's State of the Union address. We have 242 Republicans. There will be a significant number of Democrats, I think, that will join us."

Democrats said they plan to aggressively defend Obama's legislative accomplishments, chief among them the health care bill. "They're talking about wasting time repealing health care, when they know that the Senate and administration won't go along with it," said Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, on CNN's "State of the Union." He added: "Don't waste time. Create jobs."

When Republicans officially assume control of the House Wednesday, Upton will head the Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees health policy. Prospects of a repeal are slimmer in the Senate, where Democrats and independents will enjoy a 53-47 majority.

Also Sunday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), incoming chairman of the House oversight committee, called Obama's administration "one of the most corrupt administrations" and predicted that the investigations he is planning over the next two years could save taxpayers about $200 billion. Asked on "Fox News Sunday" about reports that the White House is staffing up on lawyers to prepare for his hearings, Issa said: "They're going to need more accountants. . . . The sooner the administration figures out that the enemy is the bureaucracy and the wasteful spending, not the other party, the better off we'll be."

Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the oversight panel, criticized Issa's partisan tone.

Issa also was sharply critical of Attorney General Eric Holder, stopping short of seeking his resignation but calling for a proper investigation into the publication of thousands of classified diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

In another likely point of contention, Obama is expected to name a new chief economic adviser as early as this week to replace National Economic Council director Lawrence Summers. House Speaker-designate John Boehner (R-Ohio) has criticized Obama's economic team as unseasoned in business. Boehner aide Brendan Buck said Obama should name an economics adviser who "knows what it's like to create a job in the private sector."

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