Sam Stein notes that Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) — who had been cool to the idea of repealing health care reform from the very beginning — is trying to temper expectations for what Republican will be able to achieve if they do win back the House after the mid-term elections. Here he is on the News Hour:
CORNYN: The fact of the matter, though, is that President Obama will remain president of the United States and he could veto any legislation we were able to pass. Even if we controlled the House, unless we controlled the Senate and got 60 votes, we wouldn’t be able to pass any corresponding legislation in the Senate. So I think, we need to keep expectations, again, fairly modest as far as what we can do over the next two years. I think it is a chance to work together with the president if he wants to work with us like President Clinton did following the 1994 election to pass things like welfare reform on a bipartisan basis. But, I think, if the president doesn’t reach across the aisle and actually try to do things on a bipartisan basis, the likelihood is that not a whole lot of legislating will be done.”
Watch it (at 7 minutes):
Indeed, as the administration itself has argued, defunding the law will probably be easier than repealing it, but it’s still unclear that Republicans will try to seriously pursue their Tea Party inspired agenda once in power.
Before signing repeal and replace pledges in preparation for the campaign season, the GOP was far more realistic about what it could and should accomplish. By March, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) reassured CNN’s John King that “repeal and replace will be the slogan for the fall,” but in January the party didn’t want to campaign on full repeal. On January 13th, young guns Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told Politico’s Mike Allen that Republicans “WILL NOT campaign for full health care repeal, but will demand partial repeal, including mandates for health coverage.” And realistically that’s all they’ll be able to accomplish — if they can overcome all of these challenges first.