Driving the Day: Repeal Becomes Partisan
Later today, the U.S. Senate will vote on an amendment to repeal Obamacare in its entirety. It is important to remember that there is broad bipartisan support for repeal. According to Rasmussen, 58% of likely voters favor repeal; including, 79% of Republicans, 31% of Democrats and 65% of unaffiliated likely voters. A large bipartisan majority in the House also voted to repeal Obamacare.
When the repeal amendment comes to a vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will employ a procedural maneuver to avoid a direct vote on repeal. The plan, according to the Politico, is for Reid to raise a budget-point-of-order against the amendment, which would require 60 votes to overcome.
The cynical maneuver is meant to confuse Americans (repeal does NOT increase the deficit) and inoculate vulnerable Democrats from a politically difficult vote. If Senate Democrats walk in lock step opposed to repeal, they will demonstrate an astounding partisan rigidness that is out of step with America and their House colleagues.
That is not to say Senate Democrats have not been critical of Obamacare. Senators Robert Casey (D-PA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Jim Webb (D-VA) have all voiced criticism or hedged their support of the law. Coincidentally, they are also up for reelection in 2012.
Then there is Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV).
In October, he told FoxNews “’Obamacare,’ as it’s been called — is far too reaching. It’s overreaching. It needs to have a lot of it repealed. If you can’t fix that, repeal the whole thing.” But after the President’s State of the Union Address, Manchin changed his tone, saying, “I want to repair it, not repeal it.” During his campaign, Manchin said Washington needed some “West Virginia values.” But when it comes to Obamacare, he seems to have embraced Harry Reid’s Washington values.
When the Senate votes today, Americans will be treated to a display of partisanship that is out of touch with Americans and rhetoric that is out of touch with the facts. Americans deserve better.