The two-week break will last until November 12, and will allow GOP legislators an opportunity to win over constituents who are wary of the party after this month’s government shutdown and budget fights.
However, as David Drucker reports, the break also provides the GOP time to re-strategize its anti-health care campaign.
Though Democrats have criticized their Republican colleagues for not postponing the recess, Republicans counter that in the 19 days after the government reopened, they have passed several bills, including five appropriation bills that were killed by Senate Democrats. The non-controversial bills passed play a key role in House Republicans’ continued fight against President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Although their earlier efforts proved unsuccessful, resulted in a government shutdown, and pitted GOP lawmakers against one another, Republicans still want to ensure that when they come back, the focus is still on the health care law.
The new pieces of legislation passed by Republicans were carefully selected, and designed to attract bipartisan support – the Water Resources Reform and Development Act recently passed with 193 Democratic votes – while not distracting from all the negative attention Obamacare is currently experiencing. Most important is that the bills do not take any spotlight off the committee oversight hearings into the the troubled Healthcare.gov launch, so when House Republicans return from the recess, the attack on the law can continue.
“People are focused on how bad Obamacare is. There’s no sense in putting up hyperpartisan bills that take attention away from that,” a senior Republican House aide told the Washington Examiner.
According to Republican representative Cory Gardner (R-CO), this newest tactic can also be described as “getting back to governing.”
The strategy, however, can only work successfully to a certain extent — ultimately it has no impact on health care reform.
Still, a House Republican leadership aide maintains that one of the “two highest priorities” is “using oversight to continue to make the case against Obamacare,” because, according to the GOP, technical issues on a website are proof of a bad law.
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Copyright 2013 The National Memo