House Republicans are planning what is likely to be the 37th symbolic vote to repeal Obamacare, according to a memo sent out to House Republicans Friday by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).
“While we have not locked in the timing, I expect that the House will vote on full repeal of ObamaCare in the near future,” Cantor said in the memo.
The House voted 36 times to repeal Obamacare in 2011 and 2012, according to TPM. None of the measures passed the Democratic-controlled Senate, let alone reached the president for his signature.
In April at the Heritage Foundation, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) explained the rationale for holding a repeal vote again. “If you’re a freshman, the guys who’ve been up here the last year — we can go home and say, ‘Listen, we voted 36 different times to repeal or replace Obamacare.’ — tell me what the new guys are supposed to say,” he said. “We haven’t had a repeal or replace vote this year.”
The vote to repeal would come after more conservative House members defeated Cantor’s effort in late April to tweak part of the health care law. The Helping Sick Americans Now Act aimed to transfer money from a public health awareness account, which has been characterized by Republicans as a “slush fund,” to an underfunded high-risk pool program. Other House Republicans did not want to be seen as helping fund Obamacare amid their quest for full repeal.
The House Republicans are contemplating a new budget-hostage strategy, the the Washington Post reports in a story that is both highly useful and inadvertently Onion-esque. The hallmark of Onion news reporting is conveying insanity as if it were sane in a completely deadpan way. The news contained within the story is that the House GOP is thinking of tying the next increase in the debt ceiling to tax reform. Under this proposed strategy, the Post reports, “The debt limit might be raised for only a few months, with the promise of another increase when tax reform legislation passes the Senate.”
If you didn’t fall out of your chair when reading that apparently anodyne sentence, let me explain why you should have. In 2011, House Republicans undertook a novel and radically new dangerous political tactic of using the debt limit as a political bargaining chip. Before, the opposition party had treated the debt limit increase as a necessary step, though one they would posture over and use to flay the administration. (Senator Barack Obama followed this pattern.) The Republicans instead decided to actually threaten not to raise the debt ceiling unless Obama granted them policy concessions. This was extraordinarily risky. By mixing together a vote that was needed to prevent economic calamity with inherently contentious debates over the size of government, it turned routine budget disputes into a financial Cuban Missile Crisis.
The official party rationale for this extraordinary tactic was that, risky though it may be to fail to lift the debt ceiling, failing to reduce the debt was even riskier. An extreme imminent crisis justified extreme tactics. The risk of becoming Greece outweighed the risk of a debt-limit snafu (though it was not, of course, high enough to justify even a partial repeal of the Bush tax cuts).
President Obama has taken these arguments at face value, offering to meet the opposition halfway, or more than halfway, in order to strike a deal. He has publicly offered significant cuts to spending on retirement programs. But some Republicans don’t want that deal, the Post reports, because “The proposals, included in the president’s budget request, outraged seniors, and some Republicans fear that embracing them would be political suicide.”
Oh! So you threaten to melt down the world economy unless Obama agrees to cut spending on retirement programs, and then he offers to do that, and then you decide it’s too unpopular?
ALEIGH The state House passed a bill Wednesday requiring voters to show a photo ID when they go to the polls in 2016, after an emotionally charged debate that underscored North Carolina’s political polarization.
House Republicans pushed through the measure saying that the public demanded more stringent ballot security at polling places, that voter fraud was more prevalent than is understood, and that in a modern, mobile society fewer election officials personally knew voters.
“Our system of government depends upon open and honest elections,” said Rep. David Lewis, a farm equipment dealer from Dunn and a Republican. “Having people prove who they say they are as a condition of voting makes sense and guarantees that each vote is weighted equally and cumulatively determines the outcome of elections.”
But the move was strongly opposed by Democrats who said a photo ID would create longer lines at the polls, make it harder for the elderly, African-Americans and some students to vote, and would unconstitutionally create different categories of voters.
“This bill would attempt to turn back the strong voting we’ve had in North Carolina,” said Rep. Garland Pierce, a Baptist minister from Laurinburg, noting that the Tar Heel state had the 12th-highest turnout in the country last November.
The rest of the story: the states most likely to request or actually have waivers are almost all red.
The House is taking up a politically charged bill that would block the Obama administration from waiving any work requirements in the 1996 welfare reform law.
House Republicans are using the bill to renew a political fight that started during the presidential campaign. They say President Barack Obama is trying to gut work requirements in the law — a claim that is disputed by
The House is scheduled to vote on the bill Wednesday, though it has little chance in the Democratic-controlled Senate. The House passed a similar bill last year that died in the Senate.
The New Year’s Day vote in Congress that brought a temporary truce to the fiscal wars showed the Republicans to be far more divided than the Democrats, and the division broke along regional lines. House Republicans from the Far West and from the Northeast favored the Senate’s compromise bill by large margins, and Midwesterners were split; but in the South, Republican opposition was overwhelming, 81-12, accounting for more than half of the total Republican “no” votes. In other words, Republicans outside the South have begun to turn pink, following the political tendencies of the country as a whole, but Southern Republicans, who dominate the Party and its congressional leadership, remain deep scarlet. These numbers reveal something more than the character of today’s Republican Party; a larger historical shift is under way.
It would seem that the worm has turned:
On the issue of assault weapons, 58 percent of respondents said they supported a ban while 39 percent opposed one.
A full 88 percent of respondents favored requiring background checks at gun shows, a current loophole that allows people to buy guns without a check, while just 11 percent were against the idea. Respondents also favored background checks for buying fun ammunition 76 percent to 22 percent.
Overall, 52 percent said the Newtown shootings made them more supportive of gun laws while just 5 percent said they were now less likely to support new laws. Fifty-five percent said they would support a law that put an armed guard in every school, however.
The poll showed 55 percent support an assault weapons ban, while 54 percent favor a prohibition on high-capacity clips. Support is even wider for other proposals, such as background checks for private and gun show sales (85 percent), a federal database to track gun sales (67 percent) and a ban on semi-automatic weapons (58 percent).
But Pew also showed strong support for a proposal from the National Rifle Association that drew the ire of many gun control advocates. According to Monday’s poll, 64 percent of Americans support putting armed officers in schools — a sharp contrast to the findings of a survey last week from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling.
Meanwhile, Harry Reid pretty much spells out what most people already know, namely that the House Republicans are ready to kill any bill, no matter public support for it:
The Democratically-controlled U.S. Senate will not be a free-for-all of new gun regulations following the shooting at Sandy Hook, according to Majority Leader Harry Reid. Instead, Senators will focus on passing legislation that can move through the Republican-controlled House, Reid said.
That could spell doom for an assault weapons ban. Speaking on Nevada Week In Review, a news show on the PBS affiliate in Las Vegas, Reid said there’s no real chance of a new ban passing the House.
‘Is it something that can pass the Senate? Maybe. Is it something that can pass the House? I doubt it,’ he said in video of the program provided to TPM by Vegas PBS. ‘So I think there are things that we know we can do.’
Sen. Reid, if you’re going to focus only on legislation that can pass the House, then you might as well go on vacation for the next two years.
House Republicans are seriously entertaining dramatic steps, including default or shutting down the government, to force President Barack Obama to finally cut spending by the end of March.
The idea of allowing the country to default by refusing to increase the debt limit is getting more widespread and serious traction among House Republicans than people realize, though GOP leaders think shutting down the government is the much more likely outcome of the spending fights this winter.
‘I think it is possible that we would shut down the government to make sure President Obama understands that we’re serious,’ House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state told us. ‘We always talk about whether or not we’re going to kick the can down the road. I think the mood is that we’ve come to the end of the road.’
GOP officials said more than half of their members are prepared to allow default unless Obama agrees to dramatic cuts he has repeatedly said he opposes. Many more members, including some party leaders, are prepared to shut down the government to make their point. House Speaker John Boehner ‘may need a shutdown just to get it out of their system,’ said a top GOP leadership adviser. ‘We might need to do that for member-management purposes — so they have an endgame and can show their constituents they’re fighting.’
Here’s an article that I wish I had written, & here’s hoping that the author, Robbie Ottley, will pursue a future in Journalism.
“I’m really going to miss the 112th Congress,” said no one ever.
The members of Congress sworn in after a 2010 Republican landslide proved to be the least productive since 1947, passing fewer laws than any Congress since records were first kept that year. And they went out with a bang of a whimper last week, passing legislation to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, when most Americans were drinking, watching college football or both.
As Jonathan Weisman said in the New York Times, the legislation eventually passed “would have been a Republican fiscal fantasy” back in the days of President George W. Bush [“Lines of Resistance on Fiscal Deal,” Jan. 1]. The legislation permanently extends the Bush tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans, only returning taxes to the Clinton-era rates of 39.5 percent on individuals making over $400,000 a year and couples making over $450,000 a year. If you had returned to 2003 in a time machine and told House Democrats who still retain those positions that a decade later their votes would be necessary to save these tax cuts, they would have laughed in your face or punched you, or both.
But House Democratic votes were necessary to save the Bush tax cuts for all but the wealthiest two percent because House Republicans are so fervent about cutting the size of government that the old Republican goal of cutting taxes to encourage growth is no longer good enough to justify any budget deal that doesn’t take a scythe to government spending.
Since the fiscal cliff deal cut a negligible amount of spending while avoiding the immediate catastrophe of higher taxes on the vast majority of Americans, it didn’t garner a majority of Republican votes, even though the deal promises to continue negotiations on significant spending cuts until another deadline two months from now.
Riding the wave of a Tea Party-driven electoral tsunami into office in 2010, House Republicans still feel they have a mandate to cut government down to the bones. As such, the fiscal cliff deal is derided as a “surrender” by conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, and Democrats were “slaughtering” Republicans according to conservative web presence Matt Drudge, who also facetiously framed the bill as $41 in tax increases for every $1 in spending cuts.
House Republicans today, in addition to voting on Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) so-called “Plan B” — which extends the Bush tax cuts on income up to $1 million — will also vote on a bill to replace the spending cuts scheduled for the end of the year.
As The Hill reported, the bill closely mirrors a measure passed by House Republicans in May known as the “The Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012.” (Here is the underlying legislation, which will include these minor tweaks.) That bill voids both the military spending cuts and domestic spending cuts set to take place in 2013 and replaces them with a host of cuts to domestic spending, including:
- Cuts to food stamps that could knock millions of low-income Americans out of the program;
- Cuts to Meals on Wheels, a program that delivers meals to seniors or other individuals who are unable to prepare their own food;
- Cuts funding to health exchanges that will be created under Obamacare and funding for Medicaid included in the same law;
- Cuts to the Dodd-Frank financial reform law that will yield no cost savings, but will make bailouts of big banks more likely;
- Denying the Child Tax Credit to the parents of American children, if the parents are undocumented immigrants.
President Barack Obama said Saturday that Republicans in the House are blocking a bill that would prevent a tax increase on the first $250,000 of income earned by all Americans.
The Democratic-controlled Senate has approved the measure, but Obama said House Republicans have “put forward an unbalanced plan that actually lowers rates for the wealthiest Americans.” Obama supports a plan to raise taxes on families earning more than $250,000.
In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama said “the math just doesn’t work” on the GOP plan.
Obama’s comments mark the fourth time since his re-election that he has used the radio address to push for middle-class tax cuts as part of a plan to avert a looming fiscal cliff — and his most sharply partisan tone.