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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, January 04, 2011

 
What Comes After The Symbolic Vote

by digby

The Republicans are going to put on quite a show for the TeaParty to demonstrate that they mean business in repealing "Obamacare" even though there's no way Obama will ever sign it. In case you were wondering what Plan B is:

The stage is set for a battle early this year over funding of President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul as Republicans try to make good on a campaign promise to roll back one of the administration's main policy victories.

Republicans in the House of Representatives will likely approve scrapping healthcare reform at a vote on January 12 but a repeal will probably not succeed since Democrats continue to control the Senate and can block the move.

Even so, Republicans will yield considerable sway over the government purse strings once they take control of the House on Wednesday and will try to use that power to deny the administration's requests on financing to implement the law.

"They are not going to get what they want on funding for healthcare. The House is not going to give it to them," said a senior Republican Senate aide.

"All of this slows it down, by slowing it down it gives us a real opportunity, when we take over the Senate and or the White House in 2012, to take this law apart piece by piece," the aide said.

This was anticipated. And the Democrats do have a plan to defend it.

Greg Sargent reports:

Accuse Republicans of engaging in frivolous political antics to please the base that don't do a thing to create jobs and get the economy moving again.

The question is whether Dems will couple this with an effective and proactive case for all the popular provisions in the Affordable Care Act itself. Joan McCarter urges Dems to ditch civility and bipartisanship and use procedural maneuvers to try to force actual votes on the Act's provisions. As Eugene Robinson aptly puts it today, Dems should respond to the repeal push by saying: "Make my day."

* Dems sharpen attack on GOP over repeal? Look for Dems today to try and turn the tables on Republicans by pointing out that they are rushing through the repeal bill despite their months of attacks on Dems for allegedly rushing the original legislation. DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse emails:

Barely a week after they take the oath of office, Republicans are going to ram through a bill over the objections of millions of Americans to deny people access to affordable health care -- a bill impacting one sixth of the American economy -- without a hearing, a committee markup or testimony from a single witness. This from a party that complained bitterly that Democrats rushed through health care reform after a year of debate and dozens of Congressional hearings.

Somehow I don't think Republicans will be as moved by this criticism as Dems were when Republicans accused them of "ramming through" health reform. In retrospect, you think maybe it was a mistake for Dems to slow the legislation in response to those original GOP attacks?

* Relatedly, Igor Volsky tallies up the months and months of hearings and amendments Dems went through in response to GOP criticism.

* Dems to GOP: Don't you care about the deficit? Also, Dems will argue today that the repeal push proves the GOP's lack of seriousness about the deficit. "Repealing the Affordable Care Act will explode the deficit by one trillion dollars over the next twenty years," Woodhouse continues, adding that this "shows just how hollow their promises of fiscal discipline really are."

* How many Dems will vote for repeal? As Carrie Budoff-Brown notes, even if the GOP repeal bill is a non-starter, "Republicans could embarrass the White House if they persuade a number of Democrats to vote with them and, over the long term, plan to try to chip away at pieces of the law."

It's not quite as sharp one might hope but at least they're thinking about it. I think "the Republicans want to take away your health care" (h/t to Peter Daou) would be a pithy meme, but they seem to be hooked on deficit reduction as the new Democratic mantra.

I suspect that the health care reform will be the Republicans' most valuable hostage in the next two years. Indeed, it will be the one thing that both the administration and the Senate will fight to the death to preserve --- it is Obama's most important legacy and the Democrats spilled a lot of blood to get it through. It remains to be seen what the Republicans will extract from them in the negotiations.


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