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Posted at 5:07 PM ET, 01/ 3/2011

Afternoon Fix: House health care repeal vote set for Jan. 12; Michael Steele faces off against challengers at RNC debate

By Chris Cillizza

House Republicans set Jan. 12 as their day to pass a repeal of the national health care overhaul; Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele faces off against four challengers at a National Press Club debate; Mississippi Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant (R) jumps into the race to succeed Gov. Haley Barbour (R); and outgoing Sen. George LeMieux (R-Fla.) reaches out to GOP ad guru Fred Davis.

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* The Post's Paul Kane reports that House Republicans have set Jan. 12 as their day to pass a repeal of President Obama's health-care law. "Obamacare is a job killer for businesses small and large, and the top priority for House Republicans is going to be to cut spending and grow the economy and jobs," Brad Dayspring, spokesman for incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), said in a statement. "Further, ObamaCare failed to lower costs as the President promised that it would and does not allow people to keep the care they currently have if they like it. That is why the House will repeal it next week."


* Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele faced off in a National Press Club debate this afternoon against Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus, former Ambassador to Luxembourg Ann Wagner, former RNC official Maria Cino and former Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis. Wagner (whose family owns more than 16 guns) kicked off the debate by arguing for "tough love" at the committee, but on the whole Steele's challengers were restrained in criticizing the beleaguered chairman.

* Phil Cox has been named the new executive director of the Republican Governors Association. Cox ran Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's (R) winning 2009 campaign and remains one of his top advisers.

* Mississippi Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant (R) formally announced his bid to succeed term-limited Gov. Haley Barbour (R). Bryant, who is serving his first term as lieutenant governor, is viewed as the early frontrunner in the race.

* Outgoing New Hampshire Republican Party Chair John H. Sununu is endorsing Cheshire County Republican Party Chair Juliana Bergeron over businessman Jack Kimball in the race to succeed him as state party chair. On a conference call this afternoon, Sununu praised Bergeron's "experience in the party, being able to bring people together, [and] being able to raise money."

* Former Chicago School Board President Gery Chico announced that he has raised more than $2.5 million for his Chicago mayoral bid, a show of strength ahead of the Jan. 20 deadline for filing fundraising reports. Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel plans to release his numbers after the 20th.


* Incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) will lay out the agenda for the first few days of the 112th Congress tomorrow at a 1:30 p.m. pen-and-pad briefing with reporters. House Democratic leaders will hold a news conference at 11 a.m.

* In an interview with Minnesota Public Radio, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty (R) denied that his upcoming book tour is political in nature, saying that "of the 30 or more days that I will be promoting the book across the country, I think only two days are in New Hampshire or Iowa."

* Two outgoing members of the 111th Congress have landed post-congressional jobs in the legal world: Defeated Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) is joining the Fox Rothschild law firm as a partner in its litigation department while Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.), who ran unsuccessfully for governor, will become a partner at SNR Denton's Washington office.

* Outgoing Sen. George LeMieux (R-Fla.) has reached out to GOP ad guru Fred Davis, a signal that LeMieux is serious about gearing up for a 2012 bid against Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.).

* West Virginia Republican Party Chairman Mike Stuart is mulling a bid for governor. Stuart's move comes days after former state Secretary of State Betty Ireland (R) announced her intention to run. Whither Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)?


Show me the bunny.

With Felicia Sonmez and Aaron Blake

By Chris Cillizza  | January 3, 2011; 5:07 PM ET
Categories:  Afternoon Fix  
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