The new Republican majority isn't set to take over the House of
Representatives until Wednesday, but it has already set a date for its
first order of business: repealing President Obama's health-care reform law. Although the new House is expected to vote on the repeal bill on January 12, the Democrat-led Senate isn't quite ready to let go of Obamacare without a fight. According to The Hill,
top Senate Democrats "wrote incoming House Speaker John Boehner
(R-Ohio) on Monday warning the new GOP House against advancing
legislation that would undo the sweeping healthcare overhaul."
The announcement of the vote has solicited mixed reactions, both from bloggers who praise the GOP's initiative to start the new Congress off by fulfilling one of its major promises, and those who regard the move as insignificant.
- What Will Repeal Accomplish? Austin Frakt at The Incidental Economist suggests that the Republicans' attempt to repeal health care reform is "dead on arrival" because it doesn't offer a sufficient alternative to the current plan. "The only thing I oppose is debate without substance. If anyone wants to be taken seriously on health care (or anything) they’ve got to do the work, all of it," he argues. "Democrats did so and they got a law passed and enacted. It's not perfect, but it is an improvement over the status quo. Can Republicans make it better? It takes more than repeal."
- This Vote Means A Lot The Weekly Standard's Jeffrey H. Anderson rejects the idea that the January 12 vote is simply "symbolic," arguing, instead, that the House of Representative's initiative "reflects the dsires of the vast majority of Americans," and the repeal's failure could prompt that majority to elect a new president in the next election. He writes:
If the Democratically controlled Senate continues to turn a deaf ear to the citizenry and refuses to advance the House’s legislation, or if the Senate finally listens and advances it to the president, who vetoes it, then that too will be substantive--and the American people will have a clear choice in 2012.
- Dems Need to Fight Back Joan McCarter at liberal Daily Kos suspects some "mischief" in the Republicans' plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act and urges Democrats to fight back. "This should be a no-brainer for Dems--turn the Republicans' tactics around on them and force them to take painful votes," suggests McCarter. "Make them vote against the popular measures within the reform package. It's not a particularly 'bipartisan' or 'civil' approach to politics, but look where civility has gotten us so far."
- The Repeal Vote as an Election Strategy Legal Insurrection blogger William Jacobson thinks the Senate's refusal to pass the health care repeal is no excuse for the House not to vote on it. "There are several vulnerable Democratic Senators up for reelection in 2012," Jacobson points out. "Make them vote on repeal of Obamacare as an entirety, and in pieces. And the run the advertisements early and often."
- The 112th Congress Getting off on the Wrong Foot Liberal Steve Benen at Washington Monthly believes the House Republicans' decision to make repealing Obamacare its top priority of the new Congress is "pointless, shameless pandering to their extremist base" that will actually benefit no one. He explains:
After all, with their first big initiative after retaking the majority, House Republicans will vote to increase the deficit, raise taxes on small businesses, force vulnerable seniors to pay thousands of additional out-of-pocket dollars for their medication, and allow insurers to discriminate against children with pre-existing conditions, among other things.