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Posted at 3:43 PM ET, 01/ 4/2011

Cantor defends House Republicans' effort to repeal health-care law

By Felicia Sonmez

Incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Tuesday defended House Republicans' plans to hold a vote next week on repealing the national health-care overhaul, as Democrats complained that the GOP is not opening up the process to the minority party.

"The American people are expecting quick action from the Republican majority," Cantor said at a packed pen-and-pad briefing with more than five dozen reporters on the eve of the first day of the 112th Congress, arguing that the health-care overhaul has already been litigated and that the majority of Americans favor repeal.

Asked whether the repeal effort is moot since Senate Democrats have already said they oppose a flat-out repeal, Cantor said that "the important thing right now is to make sure we send a repeal bill across the floor," adding that "the Senate can serve as a cul-de-sac if that's what it wants to be."

Earlier Tuesday, outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and a half-dozen members of the House Democratic leadership fired their own salvos at the GOP over health-care repeal.

"To say we're going to repeal it ... is to do very serious violence to the national debt and deficit," Pelosi said at a morning news conference along with Reps. Steny Hoyer (Md.), Rob Andrews (N.J.), Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and Henry Cuellar (Tex.).

"If everyone in America was very, very pleased with his or her health insurance and had no complaints and had access to quality, affordable health care in our country, it still would have been necessary for us to pass the health-care reform bill because we could not sustain the system," she said.

Other Democrats took aim at the apparent exemption of the repeal bill from the cut-as-you-go rules that Republicans have proposed for the new Congress. The Congressional Budget office has said the law would reduce the deficit by $143 billion through 2019. Republicans have said the law would actually increase the deficit.

DeLauro said the repeal effort amounts to nothing more than "political theater" and "a kabuki dance" while Van Hollen called it a "flim-flam."

"It's Enron-type accounting to say that when they move to try and repeal health care a week from tomorrow, that the hit on the deficit will not matter," Van Hollen said.

The dueling press conferences set the stage for what's likely to be the central battle in the opening weeks of the new Congress. New members of the House and Senate will get sworn in on Wednesday afternoon.

Cantor cast the new House Republican majority as a "cut-and-grow majority" and reiterated the GOP's priorities of repealing the health-care law, slashing spending and shrinking the government.

Ahead of President Obama's State of the Union address later this month, Cantor said that House Republicans will be looking for the president to propose significant spending cuts, to call on Senate Democrats to oppose earmarks (a practice that has its share of supporters in both parties) and to lay out a plan for tax reform.

Cantor declined to go into detail when asked about the debt ceiling, an issue that has become an increasing point of contention between the White House and congressional Republicans, as well as within the GOP conference itself.

Democratic leaders cited job creation and deficit reduction as areas in which they anticipate working together with their Republican counterparts. The GOP "will find us a loyal but focused and tenacious opposition," Hoyer said. Wasserman Schultz warned that Democrats "are going to watch for every Republican hypocrisy and call them on it when we see it."

By Felicia Sonmez  | January 4, 2011; 3:43 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

Am I the only one bothered by the fact that our elected officials opted out of the Nat'l Health Care plan and then allowed 122 - or more- companies/unions also to opt out? How can this be called National Health Care? This means the rest of us who are stuck in this plan truly get stuck. Also please tell me how these members of Congress could in good conscience vote for something that they have no idea what they voted for in its entirety--Charlie Rangel's own words. This is a far cry from how our Founding Fathers dealt with important issues.

Posted by: jmm09 | January 5, 2011 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Why don't the Republicans do something in Congress that can be passed in a bipartisan way?

What a stupid act they are putting on by passing a bill to repeal the health care law.

Posted by: janye1 | January 5, 2011 6:52 PM | Report abuse

A friend of mine had a child that developed serious heath issues at a young age. They had insurance, but the company sent them a letter saying that their child would no longer be covered because he had "MAXED" out. The decision for the family became; let our kid suffer and die or lose everything we have. That is the position Republicans want to put people in by repealing health care. I hope Eric Cantor has to make the call to the next family that suffers a similar fate.

Posted by: pgmichigan | January 5, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse

The truth of the matter and the outcome will be the expensive taxpayer-supported (ie paid for) overhead charged by the private for-profit insurers will remain in place. The health care will be one-sied and two-sied away in the name of 'savings'.

This is the nature of 'bi-partisanship'. We saw it in 'the compromise': Each billionaire gets $10 for the $1 each un- or under-employed family receives. It's Democracy in action.

Posted by: theworm1 | January 5, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

The truth of the matter and the outcome will be the expensive taxpayer-supported (ie paid for) overhead charged by the private for-profit insurers will remain in place. The health care will be one-sied and two-sied away in the name of 'savings'.

This is the nature of 'bi-partisanship'. We saw it in 'the compromise': Each billionaire gets $10 for the $1 each un- or under-employed family receives. It's Democracy in action.

Posted by: theworm1 | January 5, 2011 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Yeap. In fact, did you know that Currently, many insurance companies do not allow adult children to remain on their parents' plan once they reach 19. Companies cannot do that any more. Search onilne for "Wise Health Insurance" and you can insure your kids if you are in the same boat.

Posted by: anthonytuner | January 5, 2011 1:12 AM | Report abuse


I was told by a friend that something called "Wise Health Insurance" is offering health insurance plans starting just $1 a day. That is some thing we all can agree.

Posted by: anthonytuner | January 5, 2011 1:10 AM | Report abuse

The GOP is making the same mistake Obama did, catering to the extreme of their party on an issue that is NOT the priority of our country. Jobs and the economy is what we want addressed! The GOP will suffer the same fate in 2012 that the Dems experienced in 2010.

They show how stupid they really are. At least the Dems had a chance and eventually passed HCR (although it was a mistake). The GOP is going to lose... And this is just the start of a GOP trend.

The party of NO has become the party of stupid.

Posted by: rcc_2000 | January 4, 2011 11:37 PM | Report abuse

The GOP is making the same mistake Obama did, catering to the extreme of their party on an issue that is NOT the priority of our country. Jobs and the economy is what we want addressed! The GOP will suffer the same fate in 2012 that the Dems experienced in 2010.

They show how stupid they really are. At least the Dems had a chance and eventually passed HCR (although it was a mistake). The GOP is going to lose... And this is just the start of a GOP trend

Posted by: rcc_2000 | January 4, 2011 10:23 PM | Report abuse

The first thing they should repeal is the restriction that forbids excluding people for preexisting conditions. This goes doubly for children. . . .

Posted by: mddg7771 | January 4, 2011 4:22 PM | Report abuse

This post must be a joke. Nobody could really be this hideously stupid, right?

Posted by: hateisnotafamilyvalue | January 4, 2011 4:39 PM | Report abuse
-----------------------------------------
I read mddg7771's comment as being sarcastic. Many politicians, Republicans and Democrats, have said for years that insurance companies shouldn't deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions. But repealing the health-care law would open up the gate for those very denials.

Posted by: CherieOK | January 4, 2011 9:18 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans start with a heavy dose of hypocrisy and lying to the American people. How can this end well for them?

Posted by: FoundingMother | January 4, 2011 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Soo ... Cantor, are congressional republicans planning to give up THEIR Life Time Gold Plated Health And Pension Benefits?

When they do then we can talk about repealing HC reform without a back up plan.

Posted by: knjincvc | January 4, 2011 5:36 PM | Report abuse

In an op-ed today, Mitch McConnell warns Democrats not to change rules that would allow a filibuster to be ended without a substantial majority voting in favor because this would allow "a slim partisan majority would undermine the Senate's unique role as a moderating influence and put a permanent end to bipartisanship."

But Cantor says that with respect to repealing the recently passed health care legislation, "the Senate can serve as a cul-de-sac if that's what it wants to be."

So which is it, dead end or moderating influence? These two clowns can't seem to get their stories straight.

Posted by: Bob22003 | January 4, 2011 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Wow, the House Republicans have a new health care plan ready to go already? That was fast! Oh wait, they DON'T have a new health care plan in mind. They want to repeal the existing health care plan and replace it with...nothing.

Posted by: sonny2 | January 4, 2011 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Why waste taxpayer time and money on something that won't go anywhere? That's my taxpayer money you're spending Cantor (tho admittedly, less of Bill Gates and other rich folks' money since your GOP senators forced through tax cuts for the wealthy).

Posted by: myiria | January 4, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

also Republican policy:

The only things that have to be paid for are Democratic priorities. Republican ones like tax cuts for the rich and multiple wars? Who gives a damn?

Posted by: DrainYou | January 4, 2011 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Cantor's a lightweight. So are all the Tea partiers in the new House. The repeal health care effort will continue for a few more weeks, I predict, (Americans like the benefits in the health care reform bill!), then die. The Eric Cantors of the world have no real clear ideas outside of No.

Posted by: dudh | January 4, 2011 4:56 PM | Report abuse

The first thing they should repeal is the restriction that forbids excluding people for preexisting conditions. This goes doubly for children. Say a kid gets cancer and gets cured. Are we supposed to supposed to pay to retreat him over and over again his whole life not matter how many times he gets it? It could get mighty expensive!

Posted by: mddg7771 | January 4, 2011 4:22 PM | Report abuse

This post must be a joke. Nobody could really be this hideously stupid, right?

Posted by: hateisnotafamilyvalue | January 4, 2011 4:39 PM | Report abuse

WHERE ARE THE JOBS, CANTOR ?!?!!!!!!


Posted by: DrainYou | January 4, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse

i thought cantor only got involved when it came to undermining our country for israel, this is new

Posted by: calif-joe | January 4, 2011 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Why would these frugal Republicans want to put to waste the money spent last session to get the bill through Congress and whatever time will be required this session to bring it to a vote knowing that it will not get through the Senate? The answer is that they're doing it for the same reason they trumpet about abortion and gay rights: They don't really want to change anything, but they want to have issues that they can use to enflame people who can be frightened with lies.
This time they may have overplayed their hand, but even if they haven't, they'll be gone in two years.

Posted by: amstphd | January 4, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Watch for every Republican hypocrisy? They hadn't even met yet and they were already in hypocrisy up past their eyeballs!

Cut spending, but give a tax break to the top 2% and ADD to the deficit!

Posted by: taroya | January 4, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse

The first thing they should repeal is the restriction that forbids excluding people for preexisting conditions. This goes doubly for children. Say a kid gets cancer and gets cured. Are we supposed to supposed to pay to retreat him over and over again his whole life not matter how many times he gets it? It could get mighty expensive!

Posted by: mddg7771 | January 4, 2011 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Way to go. "A Republican Death Panel", just what we need.

Posted by: frluke | January 4, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Cantor is looking for 2012 campaign slogans, not solutions to the nation's ills.
A House repeal of HealthCare Reform is shooting arrows at a tank, and he knows it.
There may be some constructive amendments to the package that would be of benefit, but throwing out the baby with the bathwater is not the correct approach.

Posted by: OldUncleTom | January 4, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Cantor wants to create a separate account to protect a FOREIGN country from any budget cuts we enact. Why is anyone paying attention to him? For that matter, why was he elected?

Posted by: AMviennaVA | January 4, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Please Virginia can we work in unelecting this buffoon? I mean really, I am getting an immediate benefit from the new healthcare law, my son can remain on my insurance until he is 26, which just saved me 200 bucks a month in premiums for him. They cannot get this through the Senate and if they think they can they better think again. I would prefer the government REGULATE healthcare which is what a bunch of Obamacare is, rather than those be at the mercy of the crooked miserable money grubbing insurance corporations who make a buck everytime you get denied coverage. I can vote out my elected officials and I cannot vote out the CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Someone please tell me where I can contribute to the campaign of the person who can unelect this raging Re-thuglican jerk. Please. He make me embarrassed to be a Virginian.

Posted by: jacquie1 | January 4, 2011 4:23 PM | Report abuse

The first thing they should repeal is the restriction that forbids excluding people for preexisting conditions. This goes doubly for children. Say a kid gets cancer and gets cured. Are we supposed to supposed to pay to retreat him over and over again his whole life not matter how many times he gets it? It could get mighty expensive!

Posted by: mddg7771 | January 4, 2011 4:22 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans are soooo funny. They luck out on the bad economy and get a majority in one chamber, and the first thing they do is trumpet their determination to take away basic health benefits from regular Americans. And they apparently think this will be popular! The GOP is absolutely the quaintest thing in the world. If they keep behaving like this, I am really looking forward to 2012.

Posted by: swsnt | January 4, 2011 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Schultz warned that Democrats "are going to watch for every Republican hypocrisy and call them on it when we see it."

====
That shouldn't be too difficult. They're already doing all kinds of contortions trying to justify deficit spending in order to have more tax cuts

Posted by: mikem1 | January 4, 2011 4:13 PM | Report abuse

He said she said he said she said...

Nice reporting.

Posted by: g9fool | January 4, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

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