In search of the GOP alternative

IN SEARCH OF THE GOP ALTERNATIVE…. Congressional Democrats have made an effort of late to point out the fact that congressional Republicans, despite their “guarantees,” have not come up with their own health care plan. Indeed, it’s been 104 days since the leadership promised to deliver one.

Yesterday, the Republican Study Committee tried once again to mount a defense.

[T]he Republican Study Committee has tossed this back on Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s lap [Monday], cutting and pasting the GOP alternative, HR 3400, which was introduced July 30. […]

Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), the chairman of the RSC, says Hoyer is “making the certifiably false claim that Republicans have ‘not only failed to produce legislation, but they have yet to offer any real solutions or ideas’ for health care reform.”

Here’s a radical idea: maybe the RSC can pretend to be grown-ups about this?

Let’s be clear. Have assorted groups of GOP lawmakers presented health care reform proposals? Sure. But when observers note there is no Republican alternative bill, we’re talking about legislation embraced by the caucus and its leadership. Price and the Republican Study Committee surely know this, which makes their latest claims, to borrow a phrase, “certifiably false.”

There are 177 House Republicans. At this point, 44 of them — not quite one-fourth of the caucus — have endorsed the RSC proposal. Of the 44, how many are part of the House Republican leadership? Zero.

“Last time I checked, the House Republican Conference does not have a proposal,” Hoyer spokeswoman Stephanie Lundberg said. “When the RSC becomes the leadership of the Congressional Republicans, let us know.”

What’s more, there’s a very good reason most of the House Republicans and all of their leaders have steered clear of the RSC plan: it’s truly awful. The proposal is built around tort reform and ridiculously inadequate $5,000 tax credits. Democrats would love for this to be the House Republican plan, and use it as proof of just how little credibility the GOP has on the issue.

But it’s not the House Republican plan because House Republicans don’t have a plan. In mid-June, they “guaranteed” a bill of their own, but have failed to follow through. Tom Price’s whining won’t change this.