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Monday, September 20, 2010

"GOP Aims to Erode White House Agenda"

Will this promise from the GOP to be as obstructionist as possible (what's new?), particularly with health care legislation, backfire? :

GOP Aims to Erode White House Agenda, WSJ: Eyeing a potential Congressional win in November, House Republicans are planning to chip away at the White House's legislative agenda—in particular the health-care law—by depriving the programs of cash. ... Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), who could potentially chair the House budget panel, says the GOP must show it's 'serious about limiting government.' ...
A vote in the House to repeal the health-care overhaul would be among the GOP's top priorities. Republican leaders are also devising legislative maneuvers that might have a bigger impact, using appropriations bills and other tactics to try to undermine the administration's overhaul of health care and financial regulations and its plans to regulate greenhouse gases. GOP leaders also hope to trim spending, return unspent stimulus funds and restore sweeping tax cuts.
Business groups have compiled lists of impeding regulations they hope to see stopped under a GOP House majority. ...
At its core, the GOP plan will focus on spending and whittling away the health-care law, the Democrats' landmark achievement, which extends insurance to 32 million Americans. House Republicans say a full repeal would pick up a few Democratic votes, but acknowledge the effort would fail in the Senate.
Instead, they plan other means to chip away at it, by trying to choke off appropriations funding for key pieces, since House approval is required to pass such spending.
Republican congressional aides and advisers say their focus would including blocking funding to hire new Internal Revenue Service agents, who are needed to enforce the law's tax increases. They also would consider barring spending for a new board that approves Medicare payment cuts as well as on research that compares the effectiveness of medical procedures.
Other potential targets include funds to pay for a long-term care insurance program and money to help states set up insurance exchanges where consumers will be able to use tax credits beginning in 2014.
"By having the capacity to block funding for it, you get to very much shape how it turns out," said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a director of the Congressional Budget office under Mr. Bush.

Republicans would also bring to a vote measures that attack the law's least popular parts, including the requirement that most Americans carry health insurance and cuts to payments for privately run Medicare plans. Such other stand-alone bills would struggle to get through the Senate. But House Republicans say they will bring them to the floor anyway to pave the way for a broader attack on the health law should they recapture the White House in 2012. ...

There don't seem to be any new ideas here, just a promise to undo what's been done since the Republicans lost power. Why would we want to return to the policies that brought us a stagnant middle class even in the best of times, widening inequality, out of control financial markets, the biggest recession in recent memory, declining rates of health care coverage, threats to Social Security and to social insurance more generally, tax policies that reinforce trends in inequality and create big holes in the budget (amid false claims that tax cuts more than pay for themselves), and two wars whose total costs to the nation go far beyond the large budgetary costs that have brought programs such as Social Security and Medicare -- programs vital to middle and low income households -- under increasing financial pressure?

    Posted by on Monday, September 20, 2010 at 12:24 AM in Economics, Politics | Permalink  Comments (16)


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