Nearly four years, 47 failed repeal votes, and one Supreme Court loss after Obamacare became the law of the land, opponents of health care reform aren’t done. And according to a leading GOP congressman, they “never” will be.
Appearing on NPR’s post-State of the Union coverage Tuesday night, Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) was asked by host Robert Siegel whether Republicans would end their quest to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Cole, a close ally of House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH), laughed off the suggestion. “I think Republicans are never going to stop trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act,” he told Siegel.
SIEGEL: He appealed for an end to votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Do you think that’s behind us now, that indeed Republicans might be better with the Affordable Care Act in place to run against in November?
COLE: [Laughter] I think Republicans are never going to stop trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Look, that’s something that’s not popular, no Republican voted for it. Frankly all the polling suggests it’s become progressively less popular over the last several months so I doubt that that’s going to disappear but I also think you have to recognize political reality. There’s a Democratic senate, the president’s not likely to accept the repeal of his signature issue.
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Despite Cole’s assertion that Republicans will never give up their zeal for repeal, some cracks are beginning to appear in the GOP’s opposition to Obamacare. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who credits Obamacare with inspiring him to run for the Senate in 2010, exhorted his Party this month to “recognize th[e] reality” that “we have to deal with the people that are currently covered under ObamaCare.” “It’s no longer just a piece of paper that you can repeal and it goes away,” Johnson told the New York Times.
Indeed, even in the Republicans’ State of the Union response, Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA) didn’t call for full repeal of the landmark health care law, instead acknowledging that “we shouldn’t go back to the way things were.”