Americans may or may not agree on meteorological climate change, but on the subject of political climate change there is universal agreement. On Nov. 4, Democrats got cooler and Republicans hotter. No matter the discussion about whether voters were casting ballots for the lesser of two weasels or whether it was an anti-status quo vote, the overall temperature has now been raised – especially on Republicans.
Now that the climate has changed, the question in our industry regards the course that should be taken when it comes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Some insist on (yet another) symbolic vote to repeal the law. Seriously? If nothing else was clear from the mid-term election, voters are tired of the empty calories of unproductive legislative adventures.
A pyrrhic victory on such an action will cause further annoyance among voters and will cast the Republicans in the role of antagonists; neither of which are results that will help them with the 2016 campaign, which is (or ought to be) forefront in their thinking.
They need to pivot from being tactical to being strategic. In the process they need not abandon their core beliefs, but a bit of pragmatism added to the mix will go a long way toward assuaging voter’s worst fears.
Unless the Senate has a lock on overturning the certain presidential veto of a repeal vote, they should think very carefully about stepping off that ledge. Sen. Mike Lee, incoming chairman of the Senate Steering Committee, cautions that his party needs to adopt a “Show We Can Govern” strategy.
To achieve that end, the 114th Congress must focus their PPACA energies on reforms that can achieve bipartisan consensus. If the president vetoes such measures, he will do so at his administration’s – and more importantly, his parties’ – peril.