The Boys are Back in Town
Relative to: The new GOP majority in the House and the swagger with which the media tells me they will manage their congressional business.
What are the next two years going to look like on Capitol Hill? This is a question I have been discussing recently with my peers. We’ve been speculating on what the implications of this supposed seismic election will be. To read of it, one would think that the Democrats were pushed out of the country, and made to live in broom closets. Instead of holding the Presidency and a majority in congress. But there is no mistaking that things will change with the House majority and a less-than-60 majority in the Senate.
So what’s going to happen? Well, there has been talk about repealing the healthcare bill, admiringly named Obamacare by the Republicans. This is going forward to “send a signal” to Obama and the American People. It’s a signal because it is a doomed effort. The GOP knows they cannot repeal healthcare. The GOP doesn’t have the votes. And Obama, of said Obamacare, is the president.
But the real problem with repealing the new healthcare plan for this new GOP? It would spike the deficit. The GOP is riding a tide that opposes unnecessary spending and a promise to “cut” the deficit. According to the Congressional Budget Office, healthcare repeal would cost the country $230 Billion. As Dick Durbin (D-IL) put it: “Not only would repeal of health care reform add to our deficit, it would dump more than 30 million Americans from coverage who will be protected by our new health care reform act.” How’s that helpful?
So really, what are the plans for this new GOP to shake things up? Cut taxes? Defund healthcare one program at a time? Magically cut the budget while doing these things? Read the constitution on the Senate Floor (which according to TPM will cost $1 million to pay for)? There is plenty of symbolism in these plans, and a lot of pomp about what the new GOP and John Boehner will do, but there is little actual detail to indicate that the President and his agenda are under threat. The budget needs attention. But cutting billions from the nation’s budget will present a very difficult challenge. It will require compromise, and raising taxes and cutting services and rewriting tax codes and cutting taxes and extending services and being willing to make difficult decisions. Symbolism, however, will do little to make change.
**Suggested further reading on the topic: Promises, Promises