Senate Republicans will do everything they can to block health care legislation until it finally passes, and promise to repeal it on the campaign trail this fall, the GOP’s Senate campaign chief told reporters today.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said in a press briefing at the Ronald Reagan Republican Center today that his party will offer repeated points of order on the Senate floor challenging the legitimacy of budget reconciliation items in a package of fixes to the Senate-passed health care bill. He said his candidates in competitive races from California to Florida “should and will run on” repealing the legislation.
Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said Democrats may want to pass the measure and move on, but the GOP will keep pressing at it to “make sure that health care is the No. 1 issue that the election is won or lost by” in the fall.On the merits of the bill, the GOP will tell voters in ads and campaign mailers the health care plan’s benefits kick in far down the line, while tax increases on the wealthy begin right away, Cornyn said. He detailed an NRSC tally sheet listing all the Democrats who have said health care reform would lower costs.
“Every [GOP] candidate who is running a campaign in November 2010, that will be one of the first questions and the first ads that will want to ask, ‘Are your health care costs lower now by virtue of passing this health care bill?’ I think the answer to that will be no, they are not,” he said.
But as we detailed earlier, President Obama won’t back off health care reform either. Democrats are convinced they can win the American people back and prevail in the midterm elections if they clearly campaign on what’s in the bill.
Cornyn said the GOP will accuse Obama of never getting to the jobs issue that he promised to focus on during his State of the Union address. They’ll say the deal was crafted with none of the transparency Obama pledged to fight for and that “sweetheart deals have rendered it toxic.”
In the short term, the Republicans also will attempt to exploit the mistrust between the House and the Senate. Cornyn opined today that Obama would have no incentive to actually use budget reconciliation for the fixes to the Senate health care bill once he gets the House Democrats to agree to pass that measure.
He said Republicans will bring so many points of order against each element in the reconciliation package that, “there is no guarantee at all the bill would be fixed in a way that would accommodate their concern.”
Late Update: The NRSC’s rival Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sends over a list of GOP candidates (even the longshots) who have said they would repeal health care reform.
Mark Kirk (IL)
Sen. David Vitter (LA)
Sharron Angle (NV)
Sue Lowden (NV)
Danny Tarkanian (NV)
Kelly Ayotte (NH)
Bill Binnie (NH)
Ovide Lamontagne (NH)
Gilbert Baker (AR)
Rep. Roy Blunt (MO)
Chuck Purgason (MO)
Ken Buck (CO)
Curtis Coleman (AR)
Chuck DeVore (CA)
Trey Grayson (KY)
Rand Paul (KY)
Christine O’Donnell (DE)
Marco Rubio (FL)
Peter Schiff (CT)
Marlin Stutzman (IN)
Pat Toomey (PA)
Paul Sorum (ND)
Spokesman Eric Schultz said in a statement that not all Republicans are clearly laying out their position. “We believe that every Republican should be clear if they would support the repeal of health care reform if elected to the Senate. If Richard Burr is going to look voters in the eye and pledge to repeal health care reform which will have afforded coverage to 1.7 million North Carolinians, eliminated the doughnut hole for seniors, offered tax credits to small businesses, lowered the deficit, and ended appalling insurance practices – then good luck to him,” Schultz said.
Also worth noting Brian’s piece from last week, when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the campaign strategy makes sense but wouldn’t commit to actually repealing the bill should they win control.