Moderate Democrats say they’ll repeal parts of Obamacare, but not the whole thing

Rep. Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania was the first House Democrat to stand and defiantly call out his vote against Nancy Pelosi’s bid for minority leader on the first day of the new Congress Wednesday.

But Altmire’s willingness to defy the liberal Democratic leadership does not translate into support for the Republican drive in the House to repeal President Obama’s health-care bill next week, even though Altmire voted against the bill last year when it passed.

Rep. Heath Shuler, the North Carolina Democrat who challenged Pelosi for the minority leader position and received 11 votes, also voted against the health overhaul last year but is not voting for the Republican repeal bill.

Why? They say they want to keep the portions of the bill they like and repeal the parts they don’t.

“I voted against the bill because on the whole I believe, and I still believe, that it did more harm than good,” Altmire said on Fox News Thursday. “But there is no reason that the repeal has to be structured in a way that you literally throw the baby out with the bath water.”

Key moderate Democrats in both the Senate and the House have begun to stake out this position.

Sen. Joe Manchin, the newly elected West Virginia Democrat whose key campaign ad showed him literally shooting the cap-and-trade bill passed by the House, announced Friday he is cosponsoring a provision to repeal a portion of the health-care bill that creates onerous new tax reporting requirements for small business, known as the 1099 provision.

Manchin cosponsored a similar bill during the lame duck session of Congress last month.

“The 1099 provision would kill jobs, paralyze the millions of small business owners who have endured the worst recession in generations and who are doing the hard work of getting our economy moving again,” Manchin said. “Democrats and Republicans should work together to make this commonsense change immediately and then move on to reviewing and fixing the other problematic parts of the health-care bill.”

Some Republicans have indicated they think many House Democrats would join them in voting for repeal, which is the second symbolic act of the new majority’s time in power, following their action to cut the budgets for congressional offices by five percent.

The repeal vote is set to take place on Jan. 12.

So far, only two House Democrats who voted against the health-care bill in March have said they’ll support the full repeal: Rep. Mike Ross of Arkansas and Rep. Dan Boren of Oklahoma. A few others are uncommitted and could end up voting for repeal.

The political calculus for many of these House Democrats is fairly simple. First, they are now in a general election cycle where more voters will participate in their primary election because of the president’s presence on the ballot.

Obama’s base support will also bring more young and minority voters to the polls who will be sympathetic to the kind of political attack ad that could be run against House Democrats in a primary challenge, hitting them for opposing the parts of the bill that make for political hay.

“Voting for repeal opens the door to a primary challenge from their left. And while they may win it, it’s something they don’t want to have to deal with,” said a senior House Democratic leadership aide.

The bill forbids insurance companies from denying coverage to those with preexisting medical conditions, from rescinding coverage from customers if they get sick, allows parents to keep children up to age 26 on their policy, and gives seniors more money for prescription drugs.

“Everyone agrees those are things that needed to be done,” Altmire said. “Let’s take those off the table and let’s repeal everything else.”

But even liberal Democrats have said they want to make changes to the bill, attempting to change the tenor of the debate from one that is about turning back the bill to one that is about simply refining it.

“We also believe that the only perfect law ever enacted was carried down the mountain by Senator Moses. Every other effort has needed some visitation, reconsideration, and this will too,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, Illinois Democrat.

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  • Joe Astroturf

    This sounds a lot like Bart Stupaks courageous stand for the unborns. Oh I’m sorry I have dementia I forgot the outcome even though I sang about it. Maybe this threat not reported by the fringe media had something to do with it or they just vote counter to Nancy when she gives them permission.


    Excerpt below.

    Here’s a little friendly advice for you: if your elderly father asks you to mail a violent death threat to a congressman for him, maybe consider politely declining. (Also consider sending him to a home, maybe.) Sadly, David Hesch indulged his 73-year-old father Russell, and now they’re both going to jail for conspiracy to kidnap and murder Bart Stupak.

    Please Check out song called teapartiers I can’t hear you at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJfboOindCo

    Here’s a verse

    They weren’t champions for unborns Nelson nor Stupak
    Neither one of them have any bones in their back
    Obama greatly misses his hero Dr George Tiller
    now he wants Johnny Q Public to be the new baby killer
    The catholic hospitals across the country will all be closing
    but Aborted babies brains and limbs in other hospitals garbage cans will still need hosing

    The real teabaggers are Barnie and the safe school czar
    Your kids aren’t safe in a bus or car
    Jennings might not report it if their molested at a bus station
    lets hope he don’t have Nambla take them on vacation

  • votersofny

    It isn’t what they believe, it’s what the people want. Do they know what the definition of ‘representative’ means? They are there to do what the people that eleced them to do, not what they believe or had their arms twisted to believe.

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  • libertyatstake

    After the symbolic vote (which is important to do), we’ll get around to excising the worst of the monstrosity in detail. Dingy Harry and Veto Barry will see this issue over and over again.

    “Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive”

  • baal

    What WE need is a real mechanism for letting our beloved Republicans know IN REAL TIME how we feel. I’m thinking a polling website of verified conservatives and libertarians that polls on the issues IN REAL TIME.

    For example; should the raising of the debt ceiling be tied to the REPEAL of Obamacare? Yes or no?

  • baal

    Where is the vision from our “beloved” Republicans? Turbo Tax Timmy says we’re gonna collapse unless we raise the debt ceiling.

    What we need right now is a simple tying of the debt ceiling to the repeal of Obamacare.

    It’s that simple. We call their bluff.

  • mojo

    Bone saw, please. And have the trepanning chisels lined up…

  • floridavet

    How about repealing the part that taxes my health insurance premiums at 40%, but exempts union members in the state of Michigan? This has been a P.O.S legislation from the get-go…

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