Monday, February 3, 2014

‘Wacko Birds’ Cloud Republicans’ Election Euphoria



That take-no-risks approach is unraveling. Congressional Republicans are offering proposals on major matters, and the party’s right wing -- whose members Senator John McCain called “wacko birds” -- is omnipresent in Washington and across the U.S.

Congressional Republicans have introduced initiatives on immigration, health care, and economic mobility and poverty that are creating policy and political fissures. There were four separate Republican responses to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address last week.

House Speaker John Boehner wants his chamber to pass immigration reform. Any compromise that is acceptable to Hispanic and Asian-American groups draws fire from the party’s sizable nativist bloc and political consultants who don’t want to divert attention from their campaign against health-care reform. The speaker’s task is enormously complicated, the prospects uphill.

On health care, three leading Republican senators recently offered an alternative to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, one they say is more market-centric. But fewer people would be covered, the prohibition on discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions would be weakened, and the authors already are backing away from a proposal to deny tax benefits for some employer-based plans. Many Democrats would relish a debate over the competing plan.

www.bloomberg.com

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