Despite Simmering GOP Rage On Health Bill, Some Republicans Say They Can Still Work With DemocratsNPR reports: "Though conservative anger with Washington over the newly signed bill has been particularly hot, some longtime political observers see a revival of previous populist movements from the right. ... Chip Berlet with Political Research Associates, a liberal group that tracks populist anti-government movements, says this is nothing new. 'It happens periodically throughout U.S. history, and it happens when people are very angry, but they sort of focus that anger on conspiracy stories in which their political opponents are portrayed not as having ideological or political differences, but in fact are out to destroy America,' Berlet says. Berlet cites the militia movement of the '90s as the most recent incarnation of such anger. But there are plenty of other examples. In the early 1800s, people said the Freemasons were out to destroy America. Later that century, he says, people feared that the Pope was digging a very long tunnel indeed as part of an elaborate plot against the United States" (Gonyea, 3/29).
The rhetorical battle continues on Capitol Hill. CongressDaily reports that House Minority Leader John Boehner on Monday "accused Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman of using intimidation-like tactics in demanding congressional testimony from employers to back their claims the new healthcare law will be costly and undercut job creation. Boehner's comments referred to letters dated Friday from Waxman and Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Bart Stupak, D-Mich., to the heads of AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., Caterpillar Inc. and Deere & Co., requesting that they back up their claims in April 21 appearances before the subcommittee." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has urged Democrats to go on the offensive about pushing the benefits of the bill to the public (House, 3/29).
The Hill: Some Republican senators, though, are open to working with Democrats on other legislation despite the bitter health care battle. "Now Republican centrists say they are willing to move forward with Democrats on other issues. Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine), the Republican that Democratic leaders consider most likely to join them on future initiatives, says she is still willing to work across the aisle." Some even are backing off previous statements that predicted the Democrats' use of reconciliation on the health overhaul would cause a roadblock in the Senate. They include Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who is working with Democrats on immigration reform (Bolton, 3/30).
The Washington Times: Regardless of what is happening on Capitol Hill, challengers to lawmakers' seats are still using the health reform debate to their fundraising advantage. "The health care fight may be over in Congress, but it is still raging among fundraisers. Republican candidates across the country have turned their appeals away from stopping the bill and now argue that they need money to win office and repeal it. Meanwhile, Democrats have used reports of threats against lawmakers who voted for the bill to ask donors for money to fight attacks and misinformation" (Dinan, 3/30). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.