This will be interesting to watch as it plays out all over the media…
Congressional Democrats expressed a rare touch of nonchalance Wednesday as House Republicans voted to repeal last year’s health care overhaul, since the repeal has little chance of passing the Senate. Behind the scenes, however, fears are mounting over what appears to be a more serious threat.
Democratic lawmakers tell The Huffington Post that they increasingly expect Republicans to try and freeze funding for the health care law. Such an attempt would face the same institutional hurdles as a straight repeal vote: a non-compliant Senate and a president wielding a veto pen. But whereas the repeal bill’s death would mean — in practical political terms — absolutely nothing, the inability to pass an appropriations bill could have far-reaching effects.
“They are potentially setting up a situation where they will bring government, all of government, to a screeching halt,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said Wednesday. “Not because of the debt ceiling. This is beyond the debt ceiling … If they think they are going to have the end game of their appropriations bills be that they drive health care reform into an early grave … they are literally setting up a full stop for almost everything we will possibly do this year.”
“I am real concerned,” Rep. Charlie Gonzalez (D-Texas) said. “We do operate on yearly budgets that could exact great harm if they are dedicated to that proposition. You still have to work with the Senate. So what happens when you reach that kind of impasse? We have this gridlock … There is no doubt in my mind that the Republican leadership … has already charted a course. They are very disciplined and very good at what they do.”
“This is only the beginning,” Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) said. “I’m also fearful that they are going to try and eviscerate the legislation by denying it funding [and] by harassing the administration.”
“I’m very concerned,” Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) said. “There are a lot of things that need funding in order to be implemented … Here is the point: these guys are serious. Give them credit. They said what they were going to do with repeal and now they are doing it … There is no ambiguity here and anyone who doesn’t see [defunding] as a deadly serious effort on the part of GOP leadership is naive.”
Republican aides were coy when asked for a response to such concerns. To this point, much of the party’s emphasis has been placed on the just-completed repeal vote — which Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has pledged to duplicate in the upper chamber — and on proposed hearings that would examine aspects of the health care law. More…
- Increasing concerns GOP will shut down entire fed govt to stop health care reform (americablog.com)
- House Votes to repeal year-old health care law (sfgate.com)
- Repeal vote won’t end health-care debate – Washington Post (news.google.com)
- Cantwell asks GOP to really repeal the health-care law (seattletimes.nwsource.com)