Happy New Year from the House of Representatives

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John F
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Happy New Year from the House of Representatives

Post by John F » Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:00 am

January 2, 2011

G.O.P. Newcomers Set Out to Undo Obama Victories
By JENNIFER STEINHAUER and ROBERT PEAR

WASHINGTON — Soon after the 112th Congress convenes Wednesday, Republicans in the House plan to make good on a campaign promise that helped vault many new members to victory: voting to repeal President Obama’s health care overhaul.

The vote, which Republican leaders pledged would occur before the president’s State of the Union address later this month, is intended both to appeal to the Tea Party-influenced factions of the House Republican base and to emphasize the muscle of the new party in power. But it could also produce an unintended consequence: a chance for Democrats once again to try their case in support of the health care overhaul before the American public.

Democrats, who in many cases looked on the law as a rabid beast best avoided in the fall elections, are reversing course, gearing up for a coordinated all-out effort to preserve and defend it. Under the law, they say, consumers are already receiving tangible benefits that Republicans would snatch away.

House Democrats will get help from allies in the Senate, who can stop any repeal, and at the White House, where officials hope to transform the law from a political liability into an asset, a centerpiece of President Obama’s expected bid for re-election.

Health care is only one item on an aggressive agenda of Republicans eager to distinguish themselves quickly from the House that was run by Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Many seem to have latched on to “Undo It,” the hit by the country singer Carrie Underwood, as the refrain for their planned attack against legislation that grew out of the 111th Congress, when the Democrats were at the helm in both chambers.

The health care law, entitlement programs, new limits on emissions of greenhouse gases from oil refineries and power plants, and other legislation that Republicans say cannot be justified by a strict interpretation of the Constitution — a document the new leaders plan to read on the House floor on Thursday — are all in the cross hairs.

While President Obama and Republicans were able to work together during last month’s lame-duck session — to the vocal consternation of the most partisan ends of each party’s base — to pass a tax package and a variety of last-minute legislation, including the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and the ratification of the anti-nuclear proliferation treaty with Russia, such bipartisan consensus seems unlikely at the outset of the new House session.

Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, who is in line to succeed Ms. Pelosi, has said that this time around he would lead efforts to revive the private sector by reducing the size of government — cutting federal regulation, taxes and spending, including the budget of Congress itself.

Mr. Boehner also said Republicans would alter House rules to make it easier to curb government spending and to require more public disclosure about the work of the House.

A flat-out repeal of the health care law would face a steep hurdle in the Senate, where Democrats still cling to a diminished majority, and would most certainly be vetoed by President Obama. But Representative Fred Upton of Michigan, the incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the House action would not be merely symbolic. “If we pass this bill with a sizable vote, and I think that we will, it will put enormous pressure on the Senate to do perhaps the same thing,” Mr. Upton said on “Fox News Sunday.” “But then, after that, we’re going to go after this bill piece by piece.”

Certainly as a political matter, the House debate may be the first battle in the new era of divided government, with each side struggling to present itself as the voters’ voice on an issue that has deeply divided the country.

“Many of the incoming Republican congressmen campaigned on the platform that included repealing Obamacare,” Representative Doug Lamborn, Republican of Colorado, said in an interview. “This was the biggest mistake made by the 111th Congress.”

The repeal effort is part of a multipronged systematic strategy that House Republican leaders say will include trying to cut off money for the law, summoning Obama administration officials to testify at investigative hearings and encouraging state officials to attack the law in court as unconstitutional.

For House Republicans, a repeal vote would also be an important, if largely symbolic, opening salvo against the president, his party and his policy agenda.

“Obamacare didn’t lower costs and does not allow people to keep the care they have if they like it, as the president promised,” said Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for Representative Eric Cantor, Republican of Virginia, the incoming House majority leader. “There will be a straight vote to repeal it prior to the State of the Union,” expected in late January.

Representative Michele Bachmann, Republican of Minnesota, said: “It’s important that we repeal Obamacare as soon as possible because it is already harming the economy and killing jobs. Employers are seeing their costs for providing health insurance skyrocket, and that’s causing them to hold off on hiring and job creation.”

Ms. Bachmann had introduced a bill to repeal the health care overhaul in March, a day before it was signed into law.

For their part, the Obama administration and Democrats, who largely lost the health care message war in the raucous legislative process, see the renewed debate as a chance to show that the law will be a boon to millions of Americans and hope to turn “Obamacare” from a pejorative into a tag for one of the president’s proudest achievements.

Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform, is coordinating the administration’s response. In a recent speech, she cataloged the damage she said would be done by the law’s repeal. Outside groups that fought for the law, like Families USA and Health Care for America Now, also say they will join the fight to preserve it.

Representative Robert E. Andrews, Democrat of New Jersey, challenged the Republicans to bring it on. “We will respond by pointing out the impact of repeal on people’s lives,” Mr. Andrews said. “On women with cancer who could be denied insurance because of a pre-existing condition. On senior citizens who would lose the help they are receiving to pay for prescriptions.”

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.

“For months, Republicans have been shoveling out hypocrisy and lies to the American public,” said Representative Joseph Crowley, Democrat of New York. Mr. Crowley and more than 60 other House Democrats have demanded that lawmakers pushing for repeal of the new law give up their own government-subsidized health insurance.

The Democrats say Republicans will make a mistake if they focus first on repeal, rather than on finding additional ways to stimulate the economy and create jobs — a mirror image of criticism that Republicans lobbed at Democrats for the last 18 months.

Republicans appear to have greased the wheels for swift action on their repeal bill, much as Democrats moved with lightning speed to pass some of their top priorities after taking control of the House in January 2007.

Under new rules drafted by House Republicans in an effort to bolster fiscal discipline, lawmakers must show how they will pay for legislation that increases the deficit. But a bill repealing the health care law would be explicitly exempted from that requirement.

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the health care overhaul 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.

Brandishing the budget office estimate, Democrats, often branded as fiscally irresponsible, are prepared to slam the Republicans as hypocrites.

“In their first month, House Republicans will break one of their first promises,” Mr. Andrews said. “They will pass legislation that significantly increases the deficit. And they will ignore the impact on the deficit.”

Republicans defend their decision by maintaining 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.

The new Congress is also likely to be dominated by bitter fights over federal spending and borrowing, with a vote expected this spring on legislation to increase the federal debt.

Austan D. Goolsbee, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said Sunday that hitting the debt’s $14.3 trillion ceiling without extending it would mean “essentially defaulting on our obligations, which is totally unprecedented in American history.”

“The impact on the economy would be catastrophic,” Mr. Goolsbee said on “This Week With Christiane Amanpour” on ABC, and would lead to “a worse financial economic crisis than anything we saw in 2008.”

But Allen West, a Florida Republican who will take office this week, seemed to speak for many of his House Republican colleagues on Sunday. “The only way that I would ever support raising the debt limit is if we also talk about budgetary controls on the federal government, capping its spending,” he said on “Meet the Press” on NBC.

It is clear that as Congress prepares to convene, Republicans have little desire to wait to carve out the territory separating them from their Democratic colleagues on many issues. As one incoming freshman, Representative-elect Tim Scott, Republican of South Carolina, said: “It is important for conservatives to make sure we govern consistent with our platform on the campaign trail. If we are going to do that, we had better start immediately.”
John Francis

jbuck919
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Re: Happy New Year from the House of Representatives

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:32 pm

As I've observed before, the scary part is the way the Republicans are proceeding as though they have things in the bag, apparently (and perhaps correctly--that's the scary part) assuming that voters are not going to want or be able to keep them out of power because they pursue one contemptuously unworthy top priority after another.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

karlhenning
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Re: Happy New Year from the House of Representatives

Post by karlhenning » Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:52 pm

Ah, the scorched-earth party!

Cheers,
~Karl
Karl Henning, PhD
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston, Massachusetts
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Re: Happy New Year from the House of Representatives

Post by karlhenning » Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:59 pm

GOP push for repeal of health reform: Is it politically wise?

Peter Grier wrote:It’s like they’re making revenge their first order of legislative business, instead of progress.

RTWT here.

Cheers,
~Karl
Karl Henning, PhD
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston, Massachusetts
http://members.tripod.com/~Karl_P_Henning/
http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/
Published by Lux Nova Press
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JackC
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Re: Happy New Year from the House of Representatives

Post by JackC » Mon Jan 03, 2011 4:01 pm

All of the polls that I have seen say that Obamacare continues to be very unpopular.

I see little political downside to the Republican trying to repeal it. All they have to do is pass a one paragraph bill that says, in effect, -- "The bill enacting Obamacare is hereby repealed."

I think it is the people who would oppose such a bill who would face more political risk than the people who would vote for it. Still, repeal is going nowhere because Obama would veto a repeal bill and there are not sufficient votes, i.e., 66, to override his veto.

I think the risk for Republicans would be more if they become obsessed over repeal and start to do stupid things, like shut down the government, etc etc to try to push through a repeal. Or, almost as bad, they start a never ending fight over trying to repeal it "piecemeal" - thereby wearing out the voters over a bill they don't like but are sick of hearing about.

Still, the Dems will be better off politically in the long run if the bill were repealed or declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, which is more is more likely than repeal.

If this disasterous bill, which even now people are still trying to decipher, remains the law, the Dems will forever be known - not as the party that enacted universal healthcare - but rather as the party that over the objections of most people destroyed a healthcare system that most people thought was too expensive, but provided better care.

The Dems would be better of politically to cut their losses now.

Barry
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Re: Happy New Year from the House of Representatives

Post by Barry » Mon Jan 03, 2011 4:22 pm

karlhenning wrote:
Peter Grier wrote:It’s like they’re making revenge their first order of legislative business, instead of progress.

Wouldn't the accuracy of Grier's statement depend on your definition of "progress?" And is it actually "revenge" to attempt to repeal a law that all polling indicates a solid majority of the country opposes?

A lot of people don't consider a health care package that doesn't do nearly enough to lower costs to be progress (I know you can point to the CBO estimate on the law's impact on the deficit, but it's been pointed out numerous times that that estimate is based on assumptions that have a very good chance of not coming to pass).
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

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Re: Happy New Year from the House of Representatives

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Jan 03, 2011 4:37 pm

The major provisions of the health care bill will come into play one at a time over the next several years. If Obama is re-elected, irrespective of what happens in Congress, flat-out repeal will not happen before every provision has kicked in. At that point, the Republicans will have as much luck arguing for repeal of Social Security and Medicare (as some of them in fact devoutly desire) in terms of making points with the electorate. I'm sure they know that, which is why they will to the extent possible hold everything hostage to this in an attempt to deliver a knockout punch to the legislation before it is too late.

It is the Democrats' PR battle to lose. A major concern is whether they're up to it.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Barry
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Re: Happy New Year from the House of Representatives

Post by Barry » Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:11 pm

jbuck919 wrote:The major provisions of the health care bill will come into play one at a time over the next several years. If Obama is re-elected, irrespective of what happens in Congress, flat-out repeal will not happen before every provision has kicked in. At that point, the Republicans will have as much luck arguing for repeal of Social Security and Medicare (as some of them in fact devoutly desire) in terms of making points with the electorate. I'm sure they know that, which is why they will to the extent possible hold everything hostage to this in an attempt to deliver a knockout punch to the legislation before it is too late.

It is the Democrats' PR battle to lose. A major concern is whether they're up to it.
I agree that they can't repeal the law. I also think they'd be better off dealing with certain provisions within the law rather than going after the entire thing.
But if they ran on repeal, and think it's an issue they can continue to run on, then what's wrong with them pounding on that issue in an effort to get to the point where they can at least have a shot at repealing portions of it?

The Democrats have no moral high ground to stand on here in light of how they passed the bill and also the way in which they hid and shift costs to keep people from seeing the actual overall costs.

As for the Republicans holding everything hostage, we'll see. Some of them who will continue to be in Congress obviously cooperated with most Democrats during the lame duck session to pass bills popular with centrists. I have no reason to doubt some Republicans will continue to do that. When it comes to passing bills that are popular mainly with the Democratic base, I don't want Republicans crossing party lines to work with the opposition.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

rwetmore
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Re: Happy New Year from the House of Representatives

Post by rwetmore » Mon Jan 03, 2011 6:13 pm

John F,

Do you read anything other than the NY Times?
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

rwetmore
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Re: Happy New Year from the House of Representatives

Post by rwetmore » Mon Jan 03, 2011 7:40 pm

jbuck919 wrote:The major provisions of the health care bill will come into play one at a time over the next several years. If Obama is re-elected, irrespective of what happens in Congress, flat-out repeal will not happen before every provision has kicked in.
This is why the implementation of the major provisions were delayed until after the election - before the full public backlash occurs; before average Americans who don't pay much attention to politics realize what the bill really is going to do. This is the scam they've devised and how they are hoping it plays out. If they really believed the public would perceive the things in this new bill as something good and desirable, the wouldn't have delayed the major provisions and would have implemented them ASAP in order to help them get re-elected.

I also reject the premise of this thread. If Obama would have actually run on the things he wanted to do in 2008, he wouldn't have been elected - he wouldn't even have got the nomination. He was elected primarily because of the economic collapse. The only reason the Republicans recaptured the House was because a lot of people who voted for Obama for the economy realized that they were scammed. If this wasn't the case, then the Republicans wouldn't have won. Now that the Republicans who specifically ran on stopping and/or repealing the things that Obama didn't run on and didn't get elected for, are being accused of revenge, stopping progress, or undoing Obama victories for doing the very thing they were elected for is pretty obnoxiously self-centered to me.

Meanwhile, the liberal political establishment couldn't even win one state if they actually ran on what they really want to do, so it's an endless game of "how can we fool them today". The Dems are awfully lucky that most Americans still don't know or haven't figured out what they're really out to do. If they did, it would be game over for them.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

Cosima___J
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Re: Happy New Year from the House of Representatives

Post by Cosima___J » Mon Jan 03, 2011 10:01 pm

The reason I voted for Republicans last November was because I'm expecting them to do something about the huge deficit. And if they don't start cutting back government spending, then I say the heck with them. I'll just sit out the next election.

Cosima___J
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Re: Happy New Year from the House of Representatives

Post by Cosima___J » Mon Jan 03, 2011 10:17 pm

Interesting comments by Larry Kudlow which indicate that maybe Obama has seen the light and favors what I've suggested is needed (see above post):

Supply Side Obama?
by Larry Kudlow

And there are plenty of stories coming out of Washington about Obama reading Ronald Reagan biographies, which presumably include the pro-growth tax reform of 1986 and surely mention that Reagan himself was a student of the John Kennedy tax reforms that slashed tax rates across-the-board.

The point is, if Team Obama is moving towards an entrepreneurial incentive model of growth, and away from the false consumption model of big-government spending, it’s very good news. Already we have seen a new free-trade initiative. And there’s even talk of broad-based, personal-income tax-rate flattening that could be part of a big-bang tax-reform package.

And the congressional momentum is decidedly toward lower spending. Without question there’s going to be a huge budget-cutting exercise led by Paul Ryan in the House and Jeff Sessions in the Senate. Sen. Jim DeMint wants a showdown over the debt ceiling in order to force some kind of balanced-budget amendment. And Sen. Bob Corker has taken the bit in order to build a bipartisan group to make sure that Republicans a spending cap in exchange for raising the debt ceiling.

Keynesians do not understand the pro-growth benefits of lower government spending. But any time government resource absorption is reduced, potential investment for the private sector is unleashed.

Yes, once again, we must trust but verify. And there are going to be huge battles ahead over Obamacare and EPA regulation, both of which are anti-growth. But for starters in the new year, carrying over from the November elections, at least fiscal policy appears to be moving in a positive pro-growth direction.

No wonder stocks rallied almost 100 points in the first 2011 trading day. The Gipper must be smiling about all this."

rwetmore
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Re: Happy New Year from the House of Representatives

Post by rwetmore » Mon Jan 03, 2011 10:49 pm

Cosima___J wrote:The reason I voted for Republicans last November was because I'm expecting them to do something about the huge deficit.
I wouldn't hold your breath. We are in far deeper than deficit reduction or even a balanced budget can remedy. In order to get out of this mess we need to run a surplus and pay down the debt. What do you think the chances of that happening are? I would say start planning for the inevitable collapse. I of course do not know when it will occur, but my fear is sooner rather than later. I say enjoy what little of it is left. It's generally been a great 234+ years - a new historical record.
"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history."
- Aldous Huxley

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened."
-Winston Churchill

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!”
–Charles Mackay

"It doesn't matter how smart you are - if you don't stop and think."
-Thomas Sowell

"It's one of the functions of the mainstream news media to fact-check political speech and where there are lies, to reveal them to the voters."
-John F. (of CMG)

jbuck919
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Re: Happy New Year from the House of Representatives

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Jan 04, 2011 7:35 am

Supply Side Obama?
The notion that the president is undergoing such a conversion is just another illustration of the fantasy world of wishful thinking that bible-thumping supply-siders live in. Unfortunately, a number of them hold office and exercise a degree of power. One would hope that they will have limited success in dragging the rest of the world over to their side, but they already have a record of messing things up for the duration of two double-term administrations.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Happy New Year from the House of Representatives

Post by karlhenning » Tue Jan 04, 2011 7:41 am

Gotta love the rhetorical genuflection to the Holy Gipper, too ; )

Cheers,
~Karl
Karl Henning, PhD
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston, Massachusetts
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