Things have gotten so bad for Republicans on Obamacare that Eric Cantor appears to have abandoned his ACA alternative, while Republicans are begging him for a bill because Democrats are pummeling them.
The AP details a recent closed door House meeting where Republicans demanded their own alternative to Obamacare:
At a recent closed-door House Republican caucus meeting, several conservatives pressed GOP leaders over the pledge Majority Leader Eric Cantor made in January that House Republicans would rally around an alternative to “Obamacare” and pass it this year.
“We said at the retreat in January we were going to do this. Well it’s June and we still haven’t done it,” Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., said he told Cantor during the meeting last week. “It’s moving at a snail’s pace. … We want to be for something.”
Roe said he got little reply beyond polite attention. Cantor’s spokesman, Doug Heye, said, “Majority Leader Cantor continues to work towards bold legislative solutions to replace ‘Obamacare.'”
Behind the scenes, lawmakers and aides say, powerful committee chairmen with jurisdiction over the issue have been unable to agree over how to proceed. Some have even begun to suggest publicly that this year is not the time to vote on an alternative that likely would die in the Democratic-controlled Senate or face a veto threat from Obama.
It can safely be stated that Eric Cantor is in the process of abandoning his fellow House Republicans, and is about to let them get pummeled by Democrats on Obamacare this fall. In February, Rep. Cantor told CBS’ Face The Nation that he would have a Republican healthcare bill ready to be voted on by this fall, “Well, I believe we will have it this year. We will have it this year. And you know what the reason is, Major, is Obamacare, I believe, is on borrowed time.”
Since Cantor made this statement, the Republican predictions about the ACA have been proven wrong and the law has been a tremendous success. Republicans painted themselves into a corner with their repeal or bust position. They have no way out, and Eric Cantor will not throw them a lifeline.
Cantor’s reluctance to put forward a bill is a sign that Republicans don’t want to discuss the issue at all. The official Republican position is that they want to take health insurance away from nearly 18 million people. This is definitely not something that Republicans want to talk about before voters head to the polls.
Republicans thought that repealing Obamacare was their big strength heading into 2014, but their refusal champion anything but repeal may end up keeping the Senate under Democratic control. Republicans wanted to make 2014 all about the ACA, and they may get their wish as Democrats are going to pound on the GOP from now until November.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association