QUOTE OF THE DAY…. Care to guess who said this, in reference to congressional Republicans?
“They’ve complained for two years about this health care bill. They’ve offered alternatives, but they’re not alternatives that are in many ways viable. Well, now they have to put up the goods. They have to say ‘here’s what we’re presenting, here’s why it will work.’…
“Let’s see what they do. I say give them a chance. Let the Republican Party put up or shut up.”
Would you believe it was, in fact, a congressional Republican?
Freshman Rep. Richard Hanna (R) from central New York made the comments to a local reporter last week, not long after Hanna voted to repeal the entirety of the Affordable Care Act and replace it with nothing. He went on to say he considered the repeal vote “ceremonial” and wasn’t crazy about scrap the entire law “without reforming what is already here.”
This comes a week after a different Republican freshman in the House, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), said he didn’t want to vote for repeal, but was talked into it by GOP leaders who vowed to work on alternative solutions.
Greg Sargent had the right take on this, noting that these guys have gone “way off the national Republican Party’s message.”
While one doesn’t want to make too much of the fact that two Republicans have talked openly along these lines, their comments strongly suggest that some GOPers are skeptical of the leadership’s promise to come up with their own replacement solutions, and will exert pressure on them to come through on that vow. Even if there’s no denying that the health reform law is unpopular, it seems clear that some Republicans are aware that the politics of repeal are potentially treacherous for them and that they need to tread very carefully.
Exactly. Democrats have been embracing the reform law with more certainty, looking for opportunities to go on the offensive (the way they didn’t want to last year). The opportunity is obvious: every Republican in the House — including Hanna and Duffy — just voted to force seniors to pay more for prescription medication. And to allow discrimination against children with pre-existing conditions. And to kick young adults off their family plans. And to raise taxes on small businesses. And to return to a dysfunctional system in which untold numbers of Americans lost their homes, savings, businesses, and quite possibly their lives, simply because they got sick.
Is it any wonder why some of these Republicans might question whether the strategy dictated by their party’s leadership?