The Republican leaders in the House and Senate, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), have doubled down on their election pledge to repeal the Democrats' landmark health care reform bill. But even after their big losses Tuesday, Democrats still control the Senate and, of course, the White House. Are Boehner and McConnell making empty threats, or can they really find a way to defeat President Obama's signature domestic achievement? (Watch a Fox News discussion about the pressure)
Republicans have plenty of tools: The Senate and the Obama veto are "formidable roadblocks," says Gail Russell Chaddock in The Christian Science Monitor. But Republicans still have "wide scope for delaying or derailing implementation of health care reform." And they'll use every tool — frequent, embarrassing repeal votes; endless House oversight hearings; budget maneuvers — because their new Tea Party colleagues will demand it.
"After big GOP gains, will it be repealed?"
The GOP's tactics will backfire: Every one of the GOP's proposals to weaken Obamacare "either increases the cost of health care and the size of the federal deficit, or has no effect on them," says The Economist. The GOP complains that Obamacare is a budget buster, but then wants to strip out the cost controls that pay for it. Voters elected Republicans to shrink the deficit, but the speed with which the party is abandoning its fiscal-responsibility mandate is "pretty striking."
"Republican priorities on Obamacare"
Republicans can't not try: If you "read between the lines" of what Boehner and McConnell are saying, says David Weigel in Slate, you'll see "the first notes of compromise" and signs that not even they "actually think they can achieve" repeal. And they can't — but that won't get them off the hook with the Tea Partiers who gave them their big victory. So they'll try, and fail, and hope this "education through futility" will be enough.
"What would Pelosi do?"