Even before the health bill was voted on Sunday night, Republicans declared that they would make repeal of the bill a centerpiece of their strategy for this fall’s elections, and said they expect the vote to be a major fundraising boost.
“Do I think the this vote helped us with raising money? Yes I do,” said Pete Sessions, the Texas Republican who chairs the GOP’s congressional campaign arm, which has lagged behind its Democratic counterpart in cash raised, though it has recently begun to catch up.
Sessions, in an interview just off the House floor as lawmakers debated the health bill, outlined how he’s thinking about political strategy once the bill passes Sunday night.
Republicans will focus first on the way they feel Democrats abused the process by passing the bill without any Republican ideas or votes, in the face of public opposition to the plan. Their second step will be to focus on the longer-term impacts of the bill, primarily the cost of the bill (Republicans say Democrats’ claims of reducing the deficit through the bill are a mirage).
And thirdly, Republicans will run on repeal of the bill, or at least parts of it, Sessions said.
“I would be hard pressed to say repeal the whole thing,” he said, citing insurance reform and allowing children to stay on parents’ insurance up to age 26 as a “shared idea” between Republicans and Democrats. He distinguished that from ideas that were solely Republican ideas.
Implicit in making repeal a plank of the platform is the idea that Republicans will regain control of the House.
“We would link them together,” Sessions said.
However, when asked if House Republicans would be susceptible this fall to the charge that they voted to keep things like the much ballyhooed “Cornhusker kickback” and “Louisiana Purchase,” – special deals for specific states – by voting against the reconciliation bill that would take those provisions out, Sessions got testy.
“We’re not going to vote for the bill. We’re not going to vote for the bill!” Sessions said. “That’s up to them to do. They didn’t include our ideas. We’re not in there. No, they’re going to be personally responsible and accountable. But just wait until the Senate doesn’t take those issues out.”
The Daily Caller pressed Sessions for what the Republican counter argument will be.
“Real simple: first, the law was the law. If they ever get it done, fine, you can hold us accountable. But if they don’t ever get that done, that’s a big gamble,” Sessions said. “We know what the law is, and the law will be the Senate bill. And anybody who thinks anything different is just trying to deceive people right now.”