Republican Dominated House Shows How to Waste Time

Republicans in the House show they know how to waste time. At their insistence, next week the House will vote on whether to repeal the new health care law. Republican's complaint with the bill:

Further, Obamacare failed to lower costs as the president promised that it would and does not allow people to keep the care they currently have if they like it. That is why the House will repeal it next week.”

Since it's unlikely to pass a Democrat-controlled Senate, and Obama would surely veto it if it did manage to pass, this is pure posturing and a waste of resources.

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    Hmmm (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by DancingOpossum on Tue Jan 04, 2011 at 10:15:04 AM EST
    It will be interesting to see if the Republicans actually offer an alternative healthcare fix. What in God's name might it be?? I admit to some curiosity there.

    As one who thinks the bill is a piece of garbage, I say, repeal it--go for it. It will be instructive and amusing to see the Dems try to defend this craptastical thing and also to watch Reps natter on about their supposeed alternatives.

    As to its popularity with the public -- eh, not so much:

    Americans are most likely to say the healthcare law passed earlier this year goes too far (42%), while 29% say it does not go far enough and 20% say it is about right. Those who believe the law goes too far tend to favor repealing it and passing a new bill as opposed to scaling back the existing bill or repealing the law and not passing new legislation in its place.


    That's from November 2010.

    Then there's this interesting tidbit from Robert Schlesinger:

    54 percent of voters oppose President Obama's healthcare reform law. But drill down a bit and you'll find another number familiar to those who have paid attention--but one generally lost amid the noise of the conservative healthcare narrative of backlash against government overreach. Only a relatively small minority of Americans dislike the new law because it's too liberal.

    But he also notes:

    while Democrats can take comfort in poking that hole in the right-wing view of healthcare--and the fact that approval for the law has inched better overall--they should look with concern on the fact that public disapproval is growing against the individual mandate.

    http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/robert-schlesinger/2010/12/29/majority-either-like-healthcare-la w-or-want-it-more-liberal.html

    How many Democrats will vote (none / 0) (#1)
    by observed on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 06:17:38 PM EST
    for repeal?

    Interesting question (none / 0) (#2)
    by Raskolnikov on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 07:01:33 PM EST
    39 voted against originally...wonder how much that number will change

    Probably will be 39 minus the number (none / 0) (#4)
    by ruffian on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 08:13:22 PM EST
    of those 39 that did not get re-elected despite their 'no' vote.

    Or they won't bother to vote (none / 0) (#14)
    by republicratitarian on Tue Jan 04, 2011 at 10:00:14 AM EST
    This is just the preliminaries (none / 0) (#3)
    by Towanda on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 08:06:21 PM EST
    and pandering to their public -- but also to get their attention and that of the media for the real attacks ahead on the law, as the plan is to gut the funding necessary for implementation of much of it.

    And it looks like the attention-getting ploy is working.

    The political reporter for (none / 0) (#5)
    by ruffian on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 08:16:50 PM EST
    the Christian Science Monitor was on NPR 'Here and now'  this afternoon opining about how marvelous it was going to be that there finally would be a substantive debate in the House about HCR. I almost crashed my car form laughing. I'm sure her dreams of a full and open debate will be fulfilled with a quickie vote next week.

    There were hours and hours of debate (none / 0) (#7)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 09:05:35 PM EST
    on the House and Senate floor. The quality of the debate was pretty crap for the most part, but that's really not the point.

    No debate (none / 0) (#10)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jan 04, 2011 at 01:19:25 AM EST
    My understanding from hearing Rep. Dan Lungren on TV tonight is that there will be no debate on this bill.  The Rules COmmittee will come up with the rules, but they do not intend to provide for debate.

    Not only that, do you know what the official title of this bill is?  It's something along the lines of "Repeal the Job-Killing Health Reform Law Act."

    HAHHAHAHAH!  <wheeze>  All sorts of media, even on Fox, have been asking them how come they're doing health care before jobs, when they've pounded Obama for doing just that.  So their solution is to suddenly invent the insane idea that the bill is a "job-killer."  Beyond pathetic.


    It may be pure posturing (none / 0) (#6)
    by sj on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 08:32:31 PM EST
    But they will definitely get mileage from it.  They are going straight to the Achilles Heel and it will resonate with more than a few citizens.  Next, they'll go for the jugular.

    They're not expecting to win -- just weaken their opponent.  Which is what the Dems should have been doing these last ten years.

    Not very many (none / 0) (#11)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jan 04, 2011 at 01:21:26 AM EST
    more than a few.  The law is actually pretty popular, according to a recent CNN poll, and if you add in the people who like us who don't like it because it's not "liberal" enough, a clear majority don't agree with the Republicans on it.

    Note: (none / 0) (#16)
    by sj on Tue Jan 04, 2011 at 10:54:09 AM EST
    I said that they're not expecting to win.  Just weaken their opponent.  And they have zeroed in on two of the many flaws in this monstrosity.    (Frankly, it resonates with me, and I know they have nothing better to offer).

    This bill does damage to certain segments of the population (like my brother) who need medical care.  Not health insurance.  But whatever, my point has nothing to do with that.

    They don't give a two hoots about polls or current public opinion.  They're aiming to weaken their opponent and shape public opinion.  And frankly, focussing on the fact that they're wrong on the details will help make them successful.

    Their plan little to do with the actual bill and everything to do with party warfare.  This bill will serve their purposes very nicely.

    Just my opinion.


    Fair enough (none / 0) (#24)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jan 04, 2011 at 03:51:02 PM EST
    Not my opinion, though.  I don't think this bill is aimed at anything other than making the tea partiers satisfied.  It does nothing new in terms of swaying public opinion.  They're just repeating the same talking points they've been going on about for the last two years.  People who weren't convinced by those talking points up until now aren't going to be moved by this very silly bill, which it's obvious even to dimwits is nothing more than time-wasting symbolism.

    As somebody pointed out recently, if they were actually aiming to disrupt things, embarrass Obama, make him look ineffectual and powerless, completely co-opt the news cycle for days, and sway some public opinion, they'd have scheduled the vote for the day before or even the day of the State of the Union.  They chose instead to do it two weeks before.


    Again, (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by sj on Tue Jan 04, 2011 at 04:31:16 PM EST
    It's about weakening the opponent.  Which is a process -- not an event.  We really need to stop looking at the current state of the legislative process as simply a series of discrete events with no history and no future.  It's very bad planning.  And it's why the so-called "responses" to those events are so ineffectual.

    On the other hand, I'm perfectly content to let O look weak -- even though he's actually quite happily imlementing his own world view.  But an obviously weak O is the only way that a primary challenge will ever happen.  And it's unlikely even then.  

    But you're right that it will surely please the TP folks.


    Agreed, except that (none / 0) (#26)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jan 04, 2011 at 05:58:40 PM EST
    my point was precisely that this particular stunt is NOT designed to weaken Obama.  They've got plenty of other stuff on hand for that we'll see them rolling out when they think the time is ripe.

    This is purely to protect their right flank, as far as I can see.


    I think we agree more than not (none / 0) (#27)
    by sj on Tue Jan 04, 2011 at 08:52:34 PM EST
    But what's that saying about a thousand cuts?

    The Republican-dominated House (none / 0) (#8)
    by Anne on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 09:39:54 PM EST
    will once again show the Dems how a caucus functions when it has a majority, and Obama will be on the sidelines cheering the Dems on to "work with" that majority to show the American people that they are there to "get things done."

    But, that's the House.  The Senate apparently is a different story, as dday posts today:

    [J]ust in case you thought that the Senate would act on an imminent bill from the House to repeal the entire health care law wholesale, the Senate Democratic leadership is here to tell you that they won't. They frame it in a letter to John Boehner, signed by Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Chuck Schumer, Patty Murray and Debbie Stabenow, that they refuse to take up any bill that repeals consumer protections, specifically citing the closing of the prescription drug "doughnut hole" for seniors. On January 1, a new provision of the Affordable Care Act discounts the cost of brand name drugs for seniors who reach that coverage gap by 50%, with the full closure phased in later.

    I guess this reflects a desire to frame repeal of the entire bill specifically as a repeal of more popular consumer protections, which seems like a sound enough strategy for them. Here's the money quote:

    If House Republicans move forward with a repeal of the health care law that threatens consumer benefits like the "donut hole" fix, we will block it in the Senate. This proposal deserves a chance to work. It is too important to be treated as collateral damage in a partisan mission to repeal health care.

    Emphasis is mine.

    The cynic in me sees some wiggle room in that letter, so I won't hold my breath on the Senate Dems not being willing to consider some other bill if some of the consumer protections are left alone.

    I really don't believe anything they say anymore.

    Yawn (none / 0) (#12)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jan 04, 2011 at 01:23:54 AM EST
    GOP says they have a bill ready to go that will keep the donut hole fix even if HCR is repealed-- which it won't be, of course.  Pretty weak tea from Schumer et all, IMO.

    Are you trying to say that the House didn't (none / 0) (#23)
    by Farmboy on Tue Jan 04, 2011 at 02:46:42 PM EST
    pass any bills while the Democrats had their majority?

    Uh, no, that's not what I was "trying" (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Anne on Tue Jan 04, 2011 at 09:02:04 PM EST
    to say; why are you trying to put words in my mouth?

    My point was that even when Dems were in the majority, they believed they had to compromise and reach out and water down and otherwise sell out, and for what?  So Republicans could get the kind of legislation they more or less wanted, without having to vote for it, and without having to take any responsibility for it.

    Dems could have gone balls-to-the-wall and pushed for everything they wanted if Republicans weren't going to vote for it anyway -  and how many times does that have to happen before some Democratic genius figures out the pattern - and you can be sure that Republicans, now that they have the House majority, aren't going to waste any time attempting to appease Dems.


    this is also two bald-faced lies: (none / 0) (#9)
    by cpinva on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 11:14:45 PM EST
    per the cbo, the law, as currently enacted, will reduce fed. spending on health care insurance by nearly 200 billion over 10 years. nowhere in the bill does it mandate anyone change their current health insurance policy if they don't want to.

    i realize "lying republican" is redundant, but this is obvious even for them.

    Oh, come on (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jan 04, 2011 at 01:27:35 AM EST
    It doesn't mandate it, no, but I hope we're all aware enough to realize that it will make it necessary or cause it to happen as plans that don't meet the standards have to be withdrawn, employers have to scale back to avoid the excise tax, etc. That's already starting to happen in anticipation.

    Not to mention Medicare Advantage-- which has always been a rip-off for the taxpayers and a boon to the insurance companies-- is gradually eliminated.  I think that's a good thing, but no question it's going to put a fair number of seniors' insurance current insurance plans either out of business or prohibitively expensive.

    Let's not pretend, OK?


    Talk about fantasy (none / 0) (#18)
    by Slado on Tue Jan 04, 2011 at 11:36:16 AM EST
    Pretty easy to reduce HC spending when you only spend for 6 years and collect taxes for 10.

    How about the next 10 years?

    Also there are so many stories on the interenet of how this legislation will effectively kill your current plan that I won't even bother to link them.  Just google it if you care to learn.

    This legislation is an abomination and they are literally making it up as they go along and when the republicans get done exposing all of the thousands of problems with this bill people will be begging them to repeal it.

    Make no mistake.  This is the first salvo in a 2 year battle that will lead into the 2012 election.  This will be topic #1 or 2 that election year and this vote will be one of many that will determine if you have an R or D representing you come 2013.


    Somebody help me (none / 0) (#19)
    by sj on Tue Jan 04, 2011 at 12:02:29 PM EST
    I agree with Slado. First, jimakaPPJ and now Slado!  :)

    Make no mistake.  This is the first salvo in a 2 year battle that will lead into the 2012 election.  This will be topic #1 or 2 that election year and this vote will be one of many that will determine if you have an R or D representing you come 2013

    Okay, we're talking tactics here, and not world view or ideology.  

    I feel better now.


    If we can't agree on substance we can all (none / 0) (#21)
    by Slado on Tue Jan 04, 2011 at 01:04:24 PM EST
    agree on tactics.

    Rightly or wrongly republicans feel this bill is unpopular.  I tend to believe them because almost no republican likes it, independents are probably split and progressives only like it because they think they have to because democrats came up with it.

    Sort of like the war in Iraq.  The support by the middle and the party behind it will start to evaporate as the true consequences and bad legislation is brought to light and only the true believers will be left to defend it.   What could save it, as we are still in Iraq, is the reality that repealing it 2 or 3 years from now will be worse then "fixing" it.

    Sort of like the tax cuts.  Obama wanted to let them expire but was scared of what would happen so he went against his beliefs.

    We shall see but as for political ammunition there will be plenty of it to fight over as this bill becomes law and the backdrop of debt and the economy develops.


    Please waste more time! (none / 0) (#17)
    by Slado on Tue Jan 04, 2011 at 11:32:58 AM EST
    The more time congress wastes the fewer bad pieces of legislation it can bad like said HC bill.

    I hope republicans do nothing but turn in circles for the next 2 years so we can have the big showdown in 2012.

    It is a great myth that republicans will be blamed if nothing happens in the next 2years.

    The american public will not hold them responsible in 2012.  It will hold the president responsible just as it held GW responsible in 2008 even though there was a democratic house/senate.

    I think they will do nothing (none / 0) (#20)
    by ruffian on Tue Jan 04, 2011 at 12:04:00 PM EST
    The only way they can get Obama out of office is to do nothing remotely positive in the next two years, because, as you say, Obama will get the credit for anything good that happens.

    Agreed (none / 0) (#22)
    by Slado on Tue Jan 04, 2011 at 01:06:17 PM EST
    It's 2006/2008 all over again.   Do just enough to make the presidents life miserable, knock him at every turn and then defeat him 2 years later while bringing in more of your crew.

    It could work. It could not.   If the economy doesn't turn around it won't matter.  He'll be gone.