Washington (CNN) - Republican South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint introduced legislation Wednesday to fully repeal the health care reform legislation passed last year and signed into law by President Obama.
DeMint's action comes on the same day Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, began procedural steps to force a vote on a separate repeal bill in the coming weeks.
DeMint, a leading force in the Tea Party movement and founding member of the Senate Tea Party Caucus, said Republicans are "standing with the American people who are demanding we repeal this government takeover of health care."
"American families and businesses are struggling and it's our duty to respond quickly to their calls to repeal this bill and push for solutions that will make health care more affordable," DeMint said in a statement.
The DeMint bill proposed in the Senate has 38 Republican co-sponsors, and is the latest step by the GOP to keep promises made during the midterm election, which included a vote on health care.
A repeal bill passed the Republican-controlled House in January, and both political parties are now jockeying for control of the issue ahead of the 2012 elections. While Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch who is up for reelection in the next cycle is a co-sponsor of the DeMint bill, Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar, who is also up for reelection, is not.
If Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid refuses to bring DeMint or McConnell's repeal bills to a vote, Republicans will likely introduce amendments attached to other bills aimed at altering various aspects of the health care law, Republican Senate aides have said.
Republican Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson urged Reid to schedule a vote soon.
"The House of Representatives has overwhelmingly voted to repeal Obamacare," Johnson said in a statement. "The Senate has an obligation to vote on a straightforward repeal bill as well, so the American people can see who opposes this destructive legislation, and who supports it."
– CNN's Ted Barrett and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report