CBS 'Early Show': Republicans Want to 'Wipe Out' Dem 'Signature Achievement' of ObamaCare

Reporting on Monday's CBS Early Show, congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes decried House Republicans attempting to repeal ObamaCare: "...they made it clear they'll try to use their 49-vote advantage to wipe out key Democratic legislation from 2010. Including the President's signature achievement, health care reform."

Following Cordes's report, co-host Erica Hill asked political analyst John Dickerson about the likelihood of repeal. After Dickerson explained that repeal could not pass, a relieved Hill declared: "So, folks who like it may not have to worry about it? Because there are certain provisions that have actually gone over well with a fair number of Americans. Things like keeping your adult children on you're insurance and of course those lifetime coverage limits." Dickerson agreed: "And new things that people will like are coming on line with the new year. Middle income seniors will see – get some relief in the prescription drug prices."

On Sunday's Face the Nation, substitute host Harry Smith dismissed GOP goals of "dismantling health care" as merely a "fool's errand."

Concluding her report, Cordes noted how newly elected Tea Party Republicans might make Congress feel "uncomfortable": "37 new House members consider themselves part of the Tea Party and they'll be looking to make their mark in ways that make both parties a little uncomfortable." Later, Hill repeated the talking point in her discussion with Dickerson: "...a lot of people are watching this as potential political theater in Washington. As Nancy pointed out, some things that the Tea Partiers may want to do could make both parties uncomfortable."  

The overall tone of the segment portrayed Republicans as on the attack. At the top of the show, Hill proclaimed: "Republicans vow to take on Mr. Obama, with everything from health care to government spending at stake. But the President's not backing down." After describing how the GOP wanted to "wipe out" ObamaCare, Cordes added: "And they won't be stopping there. The Republicans now have the power to launch investigations into the White House, the chairman of the oversight committee says he will hold hearings on everything from Wikileaks to federal spending."


Here is a full transcript of the January 3 segment:

7:00AM ET TEASE:

ERICA HILL: Back to work. As the President and members of Congress return to Washington, Republicans vow to take on Mr. Obama, with everything from health care to government spending at stake. But the President's not backing down. We're live on Capitol Hill for the big showdown.

7:03 AM ET SEGMENT:

ERICA HILL: Turning our attention now to politics. It is a new year and it's also a new era in Washington, with Republicans taking control of the House for the first time in five years. CBS News congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes has more this morning on the looming battle between the GOP and President Obama. Which promises to be a heated one, Nancy.

NANCY CORDES: Erica, good morning. That's right, the President is enjoying his final full day of his Hawaiian vacation, knowing that when he comes back to Washington he'll be returning to a very different city.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Back to Work; Obama, GOP Return to Changed Political Landscape]

When Republicans take control of the House this week, they'll have their largest majority in 70 years. On Sunday, they made it clear they'll try to use their 49-vote advantage to wipe out key Democratic legislation from 2010. Including the President's signature achievement, health care reform.

FRED UPTON [REP. R-MI]: We'll look at these individual pieces to see if we can't have the thing crumble.

CORDES: And they won't be stopping there. The Republicans now have the power to launch investigations into the White House, the chairman of the oversight committee says he will hold hearings on everything from Wikileaks to federal spending.

DARRELL ISSA [REP. R-CA]: Time and time again what we've seen with the Obama administration is they played fast and loose with the walking-around-money Congress gave them.

CORDES: Both parties say debt reduction is a top priority. One of their first tests of bipartisanship will come this spring, when Congress must vote to raise the nation's debt ceiling, which currently stands at $14.3 trillion. The vote is normally a routine matter, but the new Tea Party contingent might balk. The White House warned a no vote could be disastrous.  

AUSTAN GOOLSBEE [CHMN., WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS]: The impact on the economy would be catastrophic. I mean, that would be a worse financial economic crisis than anything we saw in 2008.

CORDES: 37 new House members consider themselves part of the Tea Party and they'll be looking to make their mark in ways that make both parties a little uncomfortable. Erica.

HILL: Nancy Cordes this morning in Washington. Nancy, thanks. And joining us, also from Washington this morning, CBS News political analyst John Dickerson. John, good morning to you.

JOHN DICKERSON: Good morning, Erica.

HILL: As we know – as we know and as Nancy pointed out, the number one issue for Republicans as they move into power is health care reform. And ideally, getting rid of it. What is the likelihood of that happening?

DICKERSON: The likelihood is that it's not going to happen. It's not going to be repealed. Even if House Republicans can pass a repeal, the Senate would have to bring it up, still controlled by Democrats. That's not going to happen. If it somehow miraculously did happen, then the President would probably veto it and both houses would have to override that veto and the votes just aren't there for that.

HILL: So, folks who like it may not have to worry about it? Because there are certain provisions that have actually gone over well with a fair number of Americans. Things like keeping your adult children on you're insurance and of course those lifetime coverage limits.

DICKERSON: And new things that people will like are coming on line with the new year. Middle income seniors will see – get some relief in the prescription drug prices. But there are other parts that people don't like and those are tied to the economy, particularly an onerous paperwork process that small business has to go through and that's something Republicans are targeting. For Republicans, the key is to link anything they do to health care to the economy. That is still the central issue and Republicans have to focus anything they want to do on health care and say, 'This is how this hurts the economy and that's why we're trying to get rid of it.'

HILL: And Republicans have promised to keep their focus on spending. There's going to be a big challenge, though, to that focus coming up very quickly in the new year here because, of course, in February, there's going to be – Congress is going to have to pass a resolution basically to keep the government running and that could mean raising the debt ceiling. How are they going to agree – make that work for them in terms of what they promised and what may have to be done?

DICKERSON: Well, Austin Goolsbee, the President's economic advisor, said it would be catastrophic not to raise the debt limit. Republican leaders say it would be catastrophic, as well. There's agreement on that. The question is, as they battle over maybe getting some spending reduction in order to raise that limit, what Republicans will try and do is say to their Tea Party backers, 'Look, we had to raise the debt limit, it would have been catastrophic not to, but we got spending reductions as a part of a deal to do so,' and they'll have to just hope that the spending reductions they get will be good enough for those Tea Party supporters.

HILL: And when it comes to Tea Party supporters, a lot of people are watching this as potential political theater in Washington. As Nancy pointed out, some things that the Tea Partiers may want to do could make both parties uncomfortable. How is this going to play out between the Republicans and Tea Partiers?

DICKERSON: Well, even in the moment of excitement when Republicans won that big victory in November, a lot of Tea Party activists and their leaders said Republicans are on probation, no time for celebration. Immediately they're on the hook. And the thing that Tea Party backers will be looking at is spending. Will the reductions be real? And they're angry already that the GOP in agreement with the President in the lame duck session of the last Congress, just spent a bunch of money and didn't behave in the way those Tea Party backers would like them to have behaved. So the question for Republican leaders will be to able to say, 'Look, we're doing what you sent us here to do but remember, we only control one of the two houses of Congress, we can't remake the city in a day.'

HILL: Can't remake the city. And it all comes back, as we just heard several times, John, to the bottom line and spending. John Dickerson, thanks.

CHRIS WRAGGE: Well, it sounds as though there's some storm clouds over Washington. I hope the weather was nice in Hawaii.

HILL: You – one would hope so.

WRAGGE: It's going to be a busy month.

HILL: Plenty of stuff to watch though, and it will give us a lot to talk about in 2011.

WRAGGE: You got that right.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC