"We're going to go after this bill piece by piece," GOP Rep. Fred Upton stated on Fox News Sunday. Republicans itching to repeal the Obama administration's health care reform law need only to wait until Congress reconvenes this Wednesday before commencing an "assault." They may move even before the President gives his State of the Union address. With sixty percent of likely voters (and nearly two-thirds of all independents) supporting a health care repeal, GOP members are arguing that the public is firmly behind this agenda. "There will be a significant number of Democrats, I think, that will join us," figured Upton. "You will remember when that vote passed in the House last March, it only passed by seven votes." Here's what pundits have noted about a potential repeal:
- GOP Wants a 'Veto-Proof' House Majority, reports Sam Stein at The Huffington Post, parsing Rep. Fred Upton's argument that "I don't think we're going to be that far off from having the votes to actually override a veto." Stein concludes that Upton's rhetoric is "to put it mildly, an optimistic consideration of the congressional landscape." He explains why a "veto-proof" majority is unlikely:
Some Democrats were, and are, skittish about health care. But many of those lawmakers were bounced from office during the 2010 elections and it's hard to see more than a handful of the remaining members supporting legislation to overturn the president's signature domestic achievement. And even if they did, it would still have to get 67 votes in the Senate--a chamber that Democrats still control.
- Democrats: A Repeal Would Increase the Federal Deficit "Democrats argue that repeal would increase the number of uninsured; put insurers back in control of health insurance, allowing them to increase premiums at will; and lead to explosive growth in the federal budget deficit," observes the New York Times' Jennifer Steinhauer and Robert Pear. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the reforms will reduce deficits "by more than $140 billion over 10 years, largely because new spending will be more than offset by new taxes and cutbacks in the growth of Medicare." The Democrats' strategy, the Time's reporters say, is to "slam the Republicans as hypocrites" for repealing legislation that will decrease the deficit. Republicans, on the other hand, have maintained that "in the long run, the federal government cannot afford the commitments in the law, which would vastly expand Medicaid eligibility and subsidize private insurance for millions of Americans."
- Republicans Aren't 'Wasting Any Time,' writes Chris Stirewalt at Fox News, as far as the "symbolic" vote goes. Since most of these House GOP freshman ran on a election platform of repealing health care reform, this move "isn't exactly news," he notes. Still, "the health care vote will act as a sort of orientation process for the more than 80 freshmen members." According to Stirewalt, it's expected to recieve "near-unanimous support from the House Republican caucus" but be a "dead letter" when it arrives in the Senate.
- 'House Republicans Will Likely Vote to Repeal,' writes Byron York at the Washington Examiner, saying the bill signaled a "brief moment of total Democratic dominance" in Washington. As the country still learns the "full extent of the damage" of the health care reforms, York takes a look back at the catalyst to the backlash and points to the rise of Scott Brown. The Massachusetts Senator's win "helped change GOP fortunes." As for the future: "a new, more balanced Congress will consider what to do with Obamacare. House Republicans will likely vote to repeal the bill, and Democrats, still in control of the Senate and White House, will fight furiously to keep their achievement untouched."
- Bigger Picture: Part One of 'Meaningful Oversight' A health-care reform repeal is only part of the GOP's work this legislative session. "This Republican majority is far more disciplined and sober" than the Newt Gingrich regime, writes The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin, and may not be tempted to "host of nonsensical investigations of the Obama administration." She explains:
Their most significant contribution may be in ferreting out the ramifications of Obama's policy choices and assessing whether the administration has really fulfilled its commitments (Is the Justice Department less politicized or more?). If Republicans can avoid the temptation to delve into moot issues and focus on larger issues of governance they can improve their image and advance their agenda, which is based on the premise that liberal statism does more harm than good.