House GOP rediscovers its love of heavy-handed tactics

HOUSE GOP REDISCOVERS ITS LOVE OF HEAVY-HANDED TACTICS…. When the House Republican plan to repeal the entirety of the Affordable Care Act comes to the floor next week, Democrats know precisely what they want to do. The plan is to introduce amendments forcing Republicans to vote to scrap specific provisions in the law, all of which happen to be quite popular.

The strategy not only puts GOP repealers in a tough spot, but it also helps highlight some of the law’s benefits. If Republicans are so gung-ho about gutting the law, they should have no qualms about endorsing the consequences of repeal — forcing vulnerable seniors to pay thousands of additional out-of-pocket dollars for their medication, allowing insurers to discriminate against children with pre-existing conditions, etc.

Republicans, not surprisingly, aren’t anxious to play along, and it looks like they’ll block efforts to have any amendments.

Incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor … was asked whether there would be an open rule on the short repeal bill, the text of which Republicans made public last night. Under an open rule, Democrats would be allowed to propose amendments. Cantor strongly implied that this wouldn’t happen. “It’s a straightforward document,” he said. “It reflect what most people inside the beltway and outside the beltway want.”

When it comes to what “most people … want,” Cantor really doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

But procedurally, this is patently ridiculous: “Republicans demanded again and again that they be allowed to introduce amendments and generally enjoy an open process while health reform was being debated.”

Notice the pattern? For two years, Republicans said all legislation had to be paid for … but when it comes time to repeal health care reform, Republicans no longer care about their alleged principles.

For two years, Republicans said all legislation needed scores from the Congressional Budget Office … but when it comes time to repeal health care reform, Republicans no longer care about their alleged principles.

For two years, Republicans said it was imperative for the minority to be allowed to offer amendments to legislation … but when it comes time to repeal health care reform, Republicans no longer care about their alleged principles.

For two years, Republicans said self-executing rules and bypassing committees were outrageous abuses … but when it comes time to repeal health care reform, Republicans no longer care about their alleged principles.

Jason Linkins had this item today:

Back when he was the leader of the House minority, John Boehner’s salty tears were shed over the many indignities he had to suffer, just because his party was oriented toward pointless obstruction, which forces the Democrats to use every procedural weapon in their arsenal to simply pass the legislation they were elected to deliver. Boehner took his case to the American Enterprise Institute, where he promised to reform the “cycle of gridlock” and restore ‘a functioning civil society in the House” by “focusing on our collective responsibility to govern.”

“Let’s let legislators legislate again,” Boehner said, summarizing a year’s worth of complaints over the Democrats’ use of procedural maneuvers like the so-called “Demon Pass.”

In their very first week as the new House majority, the Republican leadership has decided to abandon all of the legislative principles they claimed to support up until very recently.

Let’s all say it together: it’s going to be a long two years.