GOP Officially Files Second Petition To Repeal Health Law, But Party Still Conflicted Over Strategy

Yesterday, Rep. Wally Herger (R-CA) officially filed a discharge petition to repeal the health care law and replace it with the GOP leadership alternative. But Herger’s motion — which received leadership backing in June after more conservative party members and groups like the Heritage Foundation pressed the GOP to act — has yet to attract significant Republican support and is unlikely to placate the more conservative repeal purists in the caucus. The petition will require 218 members to force the House to take up repeal; it attracted just 28 members on its first day.

Indeed, some Republicans and conservative commentators have condemned the Herger’s approach in the past, arguing that repeal and replace would muddy the waters and distract the GOP from repeal. “It’s going slow because there are Republicans who are arguing they don’t want to have to be opposed to every component of ObamaCare,” King said in April. “They want to nuance this a little bit. And whenever you get nuance, you get divided by the enemy. And they scatter you across the battlefield and take you apart.” “If we can’t come to that conclusion, then I want some new people to come help me,” he added. King, whose own repeal-only petition now boasts 170 signatures, did not return calls for comment on Herger’s repeal and replace petition.

In March, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) reassured CNN’s John King that “repeal and replace will be the slogan for the fall,” a departure from the GOP’s claims in January that they wouldn’t campaign on full repeal. Back then. Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) 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.”

Separately, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) have also introduced legislation to rescind the law.