CBS: House Republicans 'Begin Their Assault On Health Care Reform'

On Thursday's CBS Early Show, congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes derided Republican efforts to repeal ObamaCare: "On Friday, they begin their assault on health care reform, with a vote to repeal the law scheduled for next week."

Cordes noted how repeal "will hit a wall in the Senate," observing: "That legislative reality will force both sides to work together on some issues, something Speaker Boehner promised to Democrats." However, moments later she touted Democratic accusations of GOP partisanship: "Democrats are already crying foul, saying that that vote to repeal health care is being held without holding hearings first, without allowing amendments, a move that they argue flies in the face of all those promises of openness."  

Following Cordes's report, co-host Erica Hill interviewed the new House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor. She began by claiming ObamaCare would reduce the deficit and wondered how Republicans would pay for the supposed cost of repealing it: "It has been said, though, by the Congressional Budget Office – the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office – that health care would actually reduce the deficit by $143 billion. Even if you don't agree with that number, how would you make up for that elimination?" Cantor pointed out: "Well, Erica, I think what we do know is the health care bill costs over $1 trillion. And we know it was full of budget gimmickry. And it spends money we don't have in this country."

Cantor went on to cite public opposition to ObamaCare: "And it's important, I think, Erica, to remember most Americans don't like the health care bill and know that there's a better way." Hill's response to that was to imply voting on repeal was simply a waste of time: "...you've called this bill job-killing. But if it's not really going anywhere – everyone has pretty much said, 'Look, you're going to do this but it's not actually going away.' Could that time not be better spent then working on legislation that will, in fact, improve the jobs picture for people? And we do know, actually, that health care is a growing sector for work."


Here is a full transcript of the January 6 segment:

7:00AM ET TEASE:

CHRIS WRAGGE: Power shift. As Speaker John Boehner and the Republicans take control of the House, President Obama makes big changes to his senior staff. So what will the first order of business be? We're going to ask the new House Majority Leader.

7:04AM ET SEGMENT:

ERICA HILL: From Democrats in the White House to the Republicans who now control the House of Representatives. The gavel has been passed to a new speaker and the GOP is promising big changes. CBS News congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes is on Capitol Hill this morning with the very latest, a busy place on this Thursday. And Nancy, good morning.

NANCY CORDES: Good morning, Erica. Republicans are starting their first full day in power with a symbolic move. They're having the entire Constitution read aloud on the House floor. They say that document will be the basis for all their legislation.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Power Shift; GOP, Boehner Take Control of House]

NANCY PELOSI: God bless you, Speaker Boehner.

CORDES: With a swing of the gavel, Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, turning House Minority Leader John Boehner into the Speaker of the House. The new speaker made it clear that with a change in power comes a change in agenda.

JOHN BOEHNER: We gather here today at a time of great challenges, nearly one in ten of our neighbors is out of work, health care costs are still rising for American families, our spending has caught up with us and our debt soon will eclipse the entire size of our national economy. The people voted to end business as usual and today we begin to carry out their instructions.

CORDES: It started with a vote planned for today to reduce congressional budgets by 5%. Republicans are vowing to hold votes on spending cuts once a week. On Friday, they begin their assault on health care reform, with a vote to repeal the law scheduled for next week. Then they want to turn to easing regulations on big businesses to help, they say, with job growth. This ambitious agenda will hit a wall in the Senate.

JOE BIDEN: Senate will come to order please.

CORDES: Which Democrats still control, though by a smaller majority. That legislative reality will force both sides to work together on some issues, something Speaker Boehner promised to Democrats.

BOEHNER: There's a great deal of scar tissue that's been built up on both sides of the aisle. We can't ignore that. Nor should we. My belief has always been that we can disagree without being disagreeable.

CORDES: But Democrats are already crying foul, saying that that vote to repeal health care is being held without holding hearings first, without allowing amendments, a move that they argue flies in the face of all those promises of openness. Erica.

HILL: Nancy Cordes on Capitol Hill. Nancy, thanks. Also joining us on Capitol Hill this morning, the new House Majority Leader, Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor. Good morning to you, sir.

ERIC CANTOR: Good morning, Erica.

HILL: This is a big day for you, of course, the first official full day on the job. The campaigning is done, the ceremonial business has been taken care of. So now comes the hard part, getting down to business. You're the man in charge this morning. What is your first order of business?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Power Shift; New Majority Leader on GOP Agenda]

CANTOR: Well, we are going to start the day off today, Erica, by reading the Constitution. We Republicans committed during the campaign that we were going to have a constitutional U.S. House of Representatives and that's exactly what we're going to start today, by asking members to join us on the floor in the well of the House to begin to actually read the text of the Constitution.

HILL: And that's – and after that is completed, we know that set in your sights, of course, and set in the sights of the Republican Party, is health care reform. And there is a move, of course, to repeal this legislation. It has been said, though, by the Congressional Budget Office – the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office – that health care would actually reduce the deficit by $143 billion. Even if you don't agree with that number, how would you make up for that elimination?

CANTOR: Well, Erica, I think what we do know is the health care bill costs over $1 trillion. And we know it was full of budget gimmickry. And it spends money we don't have in this country. And Republicans are committed to cutting spending every single day here in this Congress. And we are also committed to cutting the job-killing regulations that have accompanied the health care bill and many others. So today what we'll see also is the discussion and passage of a resolution which will require that we start with the – our own house, by cutting congressional budgets by 5%.

Next week, what we'll see on the floor is a bill to repeal the health care bill. And it's important, I think, Erica, to remember most Americans don't like the health care bill and know that there's a better way. And we have committed to the people that have elected us to begin to work together across partisan lines to try and effect change that will actually improve the lives and deliver results for more Americans.

HILL: And in terms of affecting change, you've called this bill job-killing. But if it's not really going anywhere – everyone has pretty much said, 'Look, you're going to do this but it's not actually going away.' Could that time not be better spent then working on legislation that will, in fact, improve the jobs picture for people? And we do know, actually, that health care is a growing sector for work.

CANTOR: Erica, we're going to be about a cut and grow Congress. And if the Senate and the President want to join us in trying to deliver results for the American people, we're ready to work with them. The health care bill stands in the way of small business job growth. We know that. It's provided a lot of uncertainty and increased costs and increased premiums, health care insurance premiums, for most Americans. We want to stop that. We're going to use our oversight tools to find out what's going on in this bureaucracy in Washington and try and get them to stop passing these job-killing regulations so we can get the economy back on track. The Senate has it's role to play. If it wants to be the cul-de-sac and let legislation just fester and die over there, it will be the choice of Leader Reid. But let's remember, the voters spoke loud and clear on November. They want to see results. Republicans are willing and ready to work to deliver results for the people.

HILL: Well, we will be looking to see those results and it is going to be a very busy weekend, a busy few months ahead. Representative Eric Cantor, House Majority Leader, thanks for your time.

CANTOR: Thank you.

— Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.
 

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