- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
- Detroit porch shooting trial: Suspect says he didn’t know gun was loaded
- U.S. Navy admiral ‘receptive’ to giving Chinese counterpart a tour of carrier
- Islamic State orders female genital mutilation for Mosul girls, U.N. says
- U.N. school in Gaza caught in cross-fire; 15 killed
- Obama encourages ICE to stand down, say former border agents
- Pro-Palestinian protesters attack Israeli soccer team in Austria match
Eric Cantor loss puts Obamacare alternative in jeopardy
Question of the Day
One major casualty of Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary loss this week could be the final chance for House Republicans to pass a substitute to Obamacare this year — likely dooming the second half of the party’s “repeal and replace” campaign mantra.
His vow to hold a vote on a “bold alternative” to replace President Obama’s health law was already in doubt, with House Republicans divided over both the policy and political wisdom of a replacement effort.
Tuesday’s Virginia primary election, however, delivered a potentially fatal blow when Mr. Cantor lost to tea party-backed challenger David Brat, and then announced Wednesday that he would give up his leader’s post at the end of July, rendering him a lame duck.
“It didn’t improve the chances,” said Rep. Phil Roe, Tennessee Republican, who added that the path forward on health care will depend on who the caucus selects to replace Mr. Cantor and the decisions that emanate from that vote.
The GOP pledged to repeal and replace Obamacare in its 2010 “Pledge to America,” and reiterated that pledge in the 2012 campaign. This January, Mr. Cantor, who as majority leader determines the House floor schedule, pledged to hold a vote on a GOP replacement plan.
On Thursday, a spokesman said they are still proceeding.
“The majority leader believes conservatives should present a bold alternative to Obamacare, and he will continue to work toward that end,” spokesman Rory Cooper said.
But so far, while they’ve held dozens of votes to repeal all or part of the law, they have yet to offer a unified replacement plan.
“They’ve had five years to put a bold alternative on the floor,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, said Thursday. “They haven’t done it, in my opinion, because they don’t have it.”
Republicans get frustrated when pundits and Democrats say they have no health care ideas of their own. Rep. Tom Price of Georgia has a replacement bill, and so does the Republican Study Committee. The RSC legislation even has a majority of House Republicans signed on as co-sponsors.
But many Republicans remain fearful of giving President Obama and his Democratic allies an easy target ahead of November’s elections.
With Mr. Cantor’s loss, members are more focused on personnel and whether to duke it out over immigration and other stormy issues.
“After congressman Cantor’s defeat, it’s difficult to imagine much of anything getting done in the House and Senate for the rest of the year, especially when it comes to Cantor’s fixes to Obamacare,” said Jim Manley, a Democratic strategist and former spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat.
He said Mr. Cantor “was smart enough to realize that ‘just say no to Obamacare’ was an untenable position,” but there was no way his caucus was going to go along with a comprehensive replacement.
In the Senate, Republicans have been reluctant to expend much energy on a firm replacement plan while Mr. Reid controls the upper chamber. Instead, they’ve touted broad principles and a blueprint for reform crafted by Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Orrin Hatch of Utah.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- House panel OKs resolution to sue president for Obamacare delays
- Contrasting judgments on Obama's health care hours apart; appeals court calls subsidies unlawful
- Insurers cough up refunds to subscribers under Obamacare ‘80-20 rule’
- New Democratic caucus will pressure GOP governors to expand Medicaid
- GOP outraged Obamacare investigators able to get coverage with fake IDs
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
The subsidies are a hit with patients who don't exist
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- Whistleblowers flood VA with lawsuits despite apology
- Obama's empty tough-talk: Gun prosecutions plummet on his watch
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Obama says public not familiar enough with issues
- Conservative groups decry Democrats' 'war on women' tactic
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Astronaut shares 'saddest photo' from space: Bombs bursting over Israel, Gaza
- EDITORIAL: Obamacare enrollees faking for freebies
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq