Top Republicans: ‘Be Politically Honest,’ Health Care Reform Repeal Campaign Is Merely ‘A Symbol’

Throughout the week, many Republicans have said that repealing the Affordable Care Act should be part of the Party’s campaign platform for this year’s midterm elections. Yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said “repeal and replace will be the slogan for the fall.” Congressional Republicans such as Reps. Pete Hoekstra (MI), Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Zach Wamp (TN) and Sens. John McCain (AZ) and Jim DeMint (SC) have signed on to the cause as well.

But other Republicans are candidly acknowledging that the GOP’s new big agenda is mere political gamesmanship:

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ): “Our view is that we should repeal and replace the bill with the solutions that we think actually work. Obviously, the president will not sign a repeal bill that the Congress passes, so that’s more of a symbol. … Barack Obama is president. He would never sign a repeal law. We don’t have the votes to get it passed right now. We’re not going to waste our time on that.”

Newt Gingrich: “What you have to do is be politically honest. If the Republicans win a majority in the House and Senate next year, they will not be able to repeal the bill. The president would veto it.”

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) proclaimed yesterday that the GOP should “repeal this bill,” yet seconds later, even he acknowledged that with Obama as President, “it’s going to be very difficult to repeal this bill outright.” Watch the compilation:

Republicans whined about repealing the bill before it passed but even then, National Republican Senatorial Committee head Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) noted that the repeal effort would likely go nowhere “because obviously we don’t have the White House, we don’t have 60 votes in the Senate.”


As TPM noted, even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “which spent millions trying to defeat the legislation, said this week they won’t spend a penny supporting repeal efforts.”

A number of state attorneys general are also filing lawsuits in a separate repeal effort. Yet, like their GOP colleagues in Congress, it appears their motivations may be political as well. As the Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky noted, “At least 4 of the 13 AGs are running for higher office (either Governor or Senator) and the rest are up for re-election. Their suits are designed to rally political support, not lay down new legal doctrine.”

Today, President Obama called the GOP’s bluff. “This is the reform that some folks in Washington are still hollering about. And now that it’s passed, they’re already promising to repeal it,” Obama said. “They’re actually going to run on a platform of repeal in November. Well I say go for it.”