Shortly after health reform was signed into law, many GOP lawmakers said they would not try to repeal the bill. For instance, Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) told a local radio host that he would not want to repeal health reform because such an effort is a “radical approach” based on a “political move, a political argument” rather than a “substantive argument.” However, pressure from ideological big business groups, Wall Street fronts like the Club for Growth, and an increasingly powerful far right faction of the GOP caucus has forced nearly every House Republican to sign Rep. Steve King’s (R-IA) discharge petition to repeal “100%” of health reform. As of today, 172 of the 178 Republican members of Congress — as well as Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS) — have signed King’s pledge.
Eventually, even Reichert signed onto a slightly less extreme bill to “repeal and replace” health reform. Yesterday, ThinkProgress asked Reichert to explain why he switched from explicitly opposing repeal to signing onto a repeal bill. Reichert said that although he does want to repeal health reform, he would rather focus on a “practical” path that maintains much of the original bill. He then explained that he would never sign onto King’s discharge petition because “it has no solutions really attached to it.” Reichert correctly stated that the discharge is an effort at “repealing the entire bill”:
TP: So you haven’t signed Steve King’s discharge petition. Is that correct, or have you?
REICHERT: No, I haven’t. I’m one of a handful of Republicans. I don’t know, maybe five or three or four or five? Something like that.
TP: You’re in the slim minority.
REICHERT: I’m not going to sign it because it has no solutions really attached to it. It’s about repealing the entire bill.
TP: It’s for taking out — Steve King said on the radio the other day, he doesn’t want preexisting condition coverage, he doesn’t want that extended coverage on your parents’ plan, the dependent coverage that you just cited, he doesn’t want any of that.
REICHERT: Yeah. Well, everyone has their own approach and preexisting conditions is one of those I agree with.
Notably, with the exception of Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), every lawmaker at the GOP event unveiling the “Pledge to America” has signed King’s radical discharge petition to rescind all of health reform. In Reichert’s words, essentially the entire Republican caucus has already promised “no solutions” on health reform.