House Republicans have held a series of private discussions to plot their first moves if they win the majority in November — with plans to use spending bills and subpoenas to rein in President Barack Obama and satiate their own ravenous base.
Republicans recognize they won’t be able to do any broad governing even if they take back the House; they’d hold just one chamber of Congress, or at most one branch of government, if they also win the Senate. So officials familiar with the early discussions say they’ve centered on undoing key parts of the Obama agenda and repositioning Republicans as the party of fiscal responsibility heading into 2012 — a mantle the GOP surrendered during the big-spending George W. Bush years.
The plans presently under discussion include defunding some parts of the new health care law and delaying implementation of others, withholding some of the unspent stimulus funds and using the oversight power of Republican-led committees to investigate the Obama administration.
“The goal, obviously, would be to make it a one-term presidency,” said a GOP lobbyist briefed on the talks.
Republicans caution that the discussions are preliminary and that their plans will be calibrated based on the actual margins after the elections. They realize they could easily fall short of winning back the majority — and many privately predict a fierce struggle for power and direction if that happens.
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