100 DAYS ALREADY?…. In the latest New York Times poll, respondents were asked, “So you think the Republicans have clearly explained their plans for changing the health care system? The vast majority — 76% — said they have not, while 14% said they have.
I have no idea what those in the 14% minority were thinking.
As regular readers know, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters in July that GOP lawmakers were putting “the final touches on our bill,” which, he said, would hopefully be available “soon.” That was 64 days ago.
As it turns out, Dems on the Hill have been using a different baseline, and consider today a milestone.
House Democrats are marking today as the 100-day anniversary of House Republicans promising to produce their own alternative health reform bill as part of their larger effort to shed the Party of No label.
“I guarantee you we will provide you with a bill,” said Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), the point man on the alternative plan, on June 17.
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) tells POLITICO, “It’s been 100 days since they promised they would unveil their own proposals — where are they?… What positive alternatives have they come up with?”
Well, actually none. Their “guarantees” are about as reliable as their policy prescriptions.
Asked for an explanation, a spokesperson for House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) blasted Van Hollen, but didn’t answer the question. Two weeks ago, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) was asked where the Republican plan is, and he dodged it, too.
That said, on Monday, Cantor said a GOP reform alternative is on the way. If you believe that, I have some death panels I’d love to sell you.
To be sure, I don’t necessarily blame Republicans for refusing to unveil an alternative health care plan. Producing a GOP reform proposal would not only give Democrats a target, it would offer people a chance to compare the two approaches. In a side-by-side match-up, it’s hardly a stretch to think the Dems would come out on top.
What’s more, the Republican track record on alternative solutions is truly abysmal. The GOP budget alternative was a humiliating failure (you may recall, it lacked numbers). The GOP stimulus alternative — tax cuts and a five-years spending freeze — was so ridiculous, even some conservatives labeled it “insane.” With this in mind, there’s no need for the party to humiliate itself with a health care plan.
But this route is not without costs. For one thing, it’s now that much easier to characterize the minority as the “party of no.”
For another, in light of the “guarantees” that Republicans would produce a bill, it’s further evidence that the GOP isn’t to be trusted to keep its word.