Politico reported this afternoon that House Republicans will hold a vote on January 12th to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Democrats quickly accused the new majority of bringing the measure to the floor without allowing time for adequate debate or bipartisan negotiation. During a joint appearance on MSNBC’s Hardball this afternoon with Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA), Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) argued that Republicans will force the Congress to vote on repeal without first considering the consequences of completely eliminating the measure:
MORAN: We had 80 bipartisan hearings, we made this bill available for a month to consider before we brought it to the floor. They’re going to bring it right to the floor. This party supposedly of transparency and open government, right to the floor without any hearings.
MATTHEWS: January 12th, without any hearings.
MORAN: Without any hearings.
LUNGREN: Oh no, the hearings have been held on under Obamacare…
MORAN: Not considering the ramifications, the adverse consequences of repealing it and it’s a whole new bill you’re talking about now.
Indeed, Democrats in the House held “79 bipartisan hearings and markups” since 2008, incorporated Republican amendments and posted the original House bill online for 30 days. Republicans, meanwhile, intend to post the repeal legislation tonight but have not announced any formal hearings or plans to bring Democrats into the process.
But throughout the 15-month health reform debate, the GOP repeatedly accused Democrats of ramming through the health care bill without going through a bipartisan process. In February 2010, for instance, Speaker-elect Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) and incoming Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) wrote a letter to President Obama endorsing his call for a bipartisan health care summit and encouraging Democrats to scrap the existing bill and start over in a bipartisan fashion. “In fact, you may remember that last May, Republicans asked President Obama to hold bipartisan discussions on health care in an attempt to find common ground, but he declined and instead chose to work with only Democrats,” they began.
The two Republican leaders argued that “our ability to move forward in a bipartisan way through this discussion rests on openness and transparency” and asked Obama to invite Governors and experts to participate in the discussions before moving forward with reform. “‘Bipartisanship’ is not writing proposals of your own behind closed doors, then unveiling them and demanding Republican support,” they said. “Bipartisan ends require bipartisan means.”
Earlier today, the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent reported that Democrats intend to discuss the consequences of undoing the measure on the House floor and through a series of amendments.