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“House GOP Is Dazed, Lost and Leaderless”

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From my Monday Washington Examiner column on the Republican House’s refusal to move the repeal of the medical device tax in a clean, stand-alone bill through “regular order”:

Down two touchdowns after the first quarter, the House Republicans think they are winning….

Looming over this breakdown of basic common sense and political purpose [on the repeal of MDT] are the gun control and immigration debates. On the former, the GOP must just be reasonable in response to whatever the Senate sends over and on immigration it need only insist that at least half the border be fenced — really fenced, with access roads between big double fences — for the two big debates ahead to be, at worse, a draw.

Americans don’t want mentally disturbed people to get guns. Most don’t want mass deportation. Most do want regularization of most of the 11 million to 14 million people here illegally.

Almost everyone absolutely does want real border security, which means real fences that can be patrolled — the sort that exist wherever real security operations exist to keep people out, such as military bases and Israel’s borders.

The specifics of the interviews I had on Friday on the repeal of MDT are in the post below and on the transcripts page.  From my interview with Dr. Tom Price, R-GA, and the candidate I am most hoping seeks the GOP nomination for Saxby Chambliss’ seat in the Senate:

HH: Are you really going to move that [MDT repeal] bill out of the Congress, out of the Ways And Means and onto the floor and over to the Senate?

TP: I believe we will. Now look, you know, I’m a corporal, I’m not a general, so I don’t get to call these shots. However, I believe that the discussions that we’ve had lead me to have confidence that we will move this bill before, I’d say before the August break. And it’s got to be done, because this one, what’s happening is this is killing innovation in health care. And as a physician, I can tell you, as you well know, that the quality of health care in this country is being diminished because of Washington, not because there aren’t bright people out there discovering all sorts of wonderful things, but because Washington won’t allow the innovation to work.

HH: Congressman, you know me. I’ve shared a platform with you.

TP: Yeah.

HH: I am 100% with you. But when you say the magic words ‘before the August break’, I just think people say “Screw the Republicans.” I’m never going to, if they cannot get their act together on something this simple, that has a 79-20 vote in the United States Senate, that they truly do deserve the stupid party label. If they can’t…

TP: Now Hugh, that 79-20 vote occurred last week. So it was very recent that we’ve had the Senate go on record. Of course, they don’t want to go on record for anything. But it was very recent that we’ve had them go on record for anything. So give us an opportunity to act upon information that we have….

I believe three years of frustration with the House GOP’s inability to argue its case effectively is about to bubble over.   The GOP House doesn’t have to win, but it does have to argue its case effectively, to make forceful, timely displays of principled, pointed legislation such as an immediate volley back of of the medical device tax repeal.  Only Paul Ryan has really carried the case to the Democrats, and the idea of waiting on “comprehensive tax reform” to answer Mitch McConnell’s appeal for a clean repeal bill is to ask the conservative base to give up on the House GOP’s ability to get anything right.



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