Key members of the House Republican leadership this week finally signed on to a measure that would repeal health care reform — after pressure from the ultra-conservative Club for Growth.
We’ve written thousands of words about Republicans’ on-again, off-again desire to repeal the health care reform law passed this spring. There are plenty of bills out there that would repeal the measure, and the official GOP platform as they attempt to win back power in Congress during this fall’s elections is that they would “repeal and replace” reform with their own version. This strategy comes as the Republican base is pushing them more and more to fight what critics call “ObamaCare,” while the general public is warming to the law. Another new poll yesterday adds to the trend that health care reform’s popularity is on the rise.But the only action that would actually roll back the reform law before the election comes in the form of a “discharge petition” that would force Speaker Nancy Pelosi to put the Republican repeal bill on the floor. Rep. Steve King (R-IA) is so serious about repealing health care that he filed a discharge petition that went largely ignored. On Monday, King’s attempt had just 30 signers, most of them his buddies who join him on most of his legislation.
Yesterday, however, King suddenly had 66 friends. Most of them jumped on the bandwagon after about 4:39 p.m. on Monday, when the Club for Growth’s government affairs director Andy Roth emailed members about the legislation. The threat was clear: Roth told members the discharge petition “will be considered as a key vote on the Club’s annual congressional scorecard,” one of the gold standards in conservative rankings.
Calling it by the conservative moniker “ObamaCare,” Roth wrote that “The Club has played a leading role in working to make sure this ill-conceived, over-reaching law gets fully repealed, allowing lawmakers to start over with something that will actually lower costs and reduce the size of government. This petition will force the House to act in that direction.”
On Tuesday, 22 Republicans jumped on board, including NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX). Wednesday, 14 more GOPers signed on, including the big cahunas House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA).
“The American people asked Congress and President Obama not to pass the massive health care overhaul, and they were ignored,” Boehner and Cantor said in a statement Wednesday morning. They said that voters remain opposed to the law — but as noted above, the law is getting more popular.
The Club for Growth isn’t the only group pressuring Republicans. As RedState.com’s Erick Erickson noted here, the Heritage Foundation’s new group Heritage Action will make the discharge petition a top priority.
“So here’s the deal: Republicans in Congress say they’d vote for full repeal of Obamacare. But how many are willing to put their signature where their mouth is?” Erickson wrote, urging readers to appeal to their members of Congress, even Blue Dog Democrats who opposed the bill.
“Many of them say they are for repeal. Let’s weed out the honest ones from the liars,” Erickson wrote.
Although Democrats retort that this means Republicans want to go back to the days of allowing insurance companies to discriminate based on preexisting conditions, the Boehner-Cantor statement claims that the legislation they support doesn’t amount to a full repeal.
They say King’s bill “would repeal the portions of ObamaCare that originated in the Senate and clear the way for Congress to start over with better solutions, such as the common-sense health care bill House Republicans offered during the health care debate.” The text of the legislation, however, simply repeals all provisions of the health care reform and puts back into place the laws that existed before it passed — it doesn’t replace the health care reform with anything new.
They also plan to sign on to a bill by Rep. Wally Herger (R-CA) that would fully repeal the bill and “replace it with the common-sense solutions Republicans have put forth.” As a reminder, there’s a bit of a discrepancy as to how those common-sense solutions would work.