November 5, 2014

The dreamer part of me was really hoping President Obama would appear at his press conference today brandishing a newly-signed executive order on immigration that went for the whole banana while daring the New Wingnut Majority to go ahead and repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Why? Because it would drop a bomb right into the middle of the Republican victory dance going on right now and for once we would be the disruptive ones, not them.

Well, I got half of my wish on both issues. He did promise that executive order, though he was vague about the scope of it. On the Affordable Care Act, however, he vowed to veto any efforts to take away benefits from people who already have it or any attempts to repeal it, even by 1000 cuts, including McConnell's promise to use the power of the purse to repeal it in operation if not any other way.

Keep that promise, Mr. President. No wavering on it.

Republicans have a very different view. Huffington Post:

Obama's comments appear to leave only a small opening for soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to make modifications to the Affordable Care Act over the next two years, and they won't squelch Republican zeal for undoing or severely damaging the law.

"We are, I think, really proud of the work that's been done," Obama said. "If, in fact, one of the items on Mitch McConnell's agenda and John Boehner's agenda is to make responsible changes to the Affordable Care Act to make it work better, I'm going to be very open and receptive to hearing those ideas. But what I will remind them is that, despite all the contention, we now know that the law works."

The tea party wing of the Republican Party will settle for nothing less than a complete repeal of Obamacare, an objective McConnell acknowledged is all but impossible so long as the man whose name it carries is president.

"He's still there," McConnell said at a news conference in Louisville, Kentucky, on Wednesday. "The veto pen is a pretty big thing." Before the elections, McConnell suggested he may employ a parliamentary tactic known as budget reconciliation to dismantle Obamacare, which would require only 51 votes as opposed to the 60 needed to overcome a Democratic filibuster. Congressional Democrats used this mechanism to pass Obamacare in 2010 with zero GOP votes.

McConnell nevertheless emphasized he favors repealing the law outright, and said Republicans stand united in opposition to Obamacare. "It's no secret that every one of my members thinks that Obamacare was a huge legislative mistake," he said.

Short of achieving repeal, McConnell promised to take aim at a handful of specific provisions of the Affordable Care Act. "There are pieces of it that are deeply, deeply unpopular with the American people," he said.

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