Trenchwarfare

Health Care Reform: The War of Attrition Begins

Tomorrow is Remembrance Day, a occasion originally conceived for somber reflection on bitter and pointless trench warfare. It is fitting that the Republicans chose this week to announce their plans to harry health care reform to death.

The GOP campaigned on grandiose promises of repealing the Affordable Care Act, but the voters didn't give them that mandate. Future speaker John Boehner isn't keen to let the Tea Partiers shut down the federal government in a quixotic bid to repeal the ACA.

As Amanda Marcotte explains at Pandagon, the new strategy is passive aggressive foot-dragging in the form of innumerable frivolous "oversight" hearings designed to keep the Obama administration on the defensive while the Republican governors are redrawing electoral boundaries to favor the GOP to ensure even greater gains in 2012.

This week's edition of the Pulse is a sneak peek into the Republican playbook for harrying health care reform to death. Hopefully the public will get so disgusted by the meanspirited grandstanding that this political theater will backfire.

Investigations chair-apparent Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has promised to hold at least seven hearings a week for 40 weeks, a rate triple that of his predecessor Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA). Waxman was a very energetic chair, so the idea that Issa plans to hold three times as many hearings should raise eyebrows. It's pretty clear that the point of these hearings is not edification, but harassment. The oversight function of Congress is critical. The sheer volume of planned hearings is a sign that the GOP is reducing the vital oversight function to a political tactic. The U.S. taxpayer shouldn't be footing the bill for publicity that the RNC should be paying for.

[Photo credit: littleowl, Creative Commons.]

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