Republicans Rally Around Repeal EffortThe Christian Science Monitor: "Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina is already set to introduce legislation repealing the legislation that President Obama will sign on Tuesday. Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona, caught in a tough GOP primary battle for reelection, is arguing in a fundraising appeal that he should stay in the Senate to lead the fight for repeal." In the long term, however, Republicans are saying that the battle over health care legislation is just part of a larger narrative on "fiscal responsibility that will take them to November and on to the next presidential election in 2012." The Republican Party is not totally united on its repeal efforts, however. "At least one Republican, David Frum, a former speechwriter for ex-President George W. Bush, believes the party should steer clear of 'repeal it' altogether. Frum argues that Republicans need to focus on how the reform is financed, currently by a surtax on top income earners" (Feldmann, 3/22).
The Hill: "Lawmakers and strategists are determining the benefits of targeting President Barack Obama's huge legislative achievement this November versus focusing more attention on what Democrats haven't achieved - more jobs, lower unemployment and a significant improvement in the economy. But stressing healthcare could muddy the GOP message on jobs and the economy and put its candidates in danger of appearing callous or getting bogged down in intricate policy arguments." Some Republican strategists say that urging repeal is risky because Americans are likely to find things they like in the bill (Bolton, 3/23).
Reuters: "Vulnerable Democratic U.S. lawmakers who backed President Barack Obama's healthcare reform plan are being targeted with freshly cut Republican TV attack ads." And "Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele e-mailed a fund-raising letter on Monday to rank-and-file members. 'Let's fire Nancy Pelosi,' Steele wrote, noting that if Republicans pick up 40 seats in the 435-member House in the November election, they will take control and Pelosi will no longer be speaker" (Ferraro, 3/22).
Politico: Republicans are weighing the risk of "losing ugly." After a series of incidents involving racist and homophobic taunts from Tea Partiers and an exclamation including the phrase "baby killer" from Rep. Randy Neugebauer on the House floor as Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak spoke, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, "was quick to to criticize the racial and anti-gay outbursts and to distance himself from Neugebauer's shout" But he "made no apologies for the feisty floor debate or the overall tone of the health care opposition. 'My impression is that Rep. Boehner was satisfied with the tone of the debate, which focused on the serious factual arguments against the Democrats' job-killing government takeover bill,' said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel" (Thrush and Cogan, 3/23).
The Washington Times: "'This will not stand,' a defiant Newt Gingrich, a former House speaker and architect of the 1994 GOP takeover of Congress, told The Washington Times in an interview. 'We should challenge every candidate in 2010 and 2012 to be for repeal.' A number of GOP strategists suggested that Republican candidates this fall will run on a platform of repeal. Polls were already projecting significant Republican gains in Congress and in statehouses even before health care reform was passed" (Hallow, 3/23). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.