Friday, November 15, 2013 12:17 pm
House GOP chair sees 2014 gains due to health care
By DONNA CASSATAAssociated Press
"Voters are more motivated when something is taken away from them," Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., told reporters.
Walden cast the health care law as the defining issue of congressional elections across the country, overshadowing all other issues, including the inability of the Republican-led House to vote this year on legislation to overhaul the nation's immigration system. Some Republicans in states like California and Nevada have come under criticism over the absence of an immigration bill.
Republicans hold a 231-200 majority in the House, with four vacancies. Democrats need a net gain of 17 seats to seize control, though the president's party typically loses seats in second-term congressional elections. Walden was upbeat about the GOP gaining seats thanks to the woes of the health care law that he laid at the feet of Democrats.
"It has become a category 5 political hurricane," Walden said at a breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor. "It is not just causing havoc in certain regions of the country. It is ripping apart every region of the country, tiny hamlets and towns, cities where people are finding confusion, chaos, cancellation, cost increases - all of which were predicted."
Democrats counter with a list of legislation that they say the House has failed to tackle, from immigration to a farm bill with enough money for food stamps. They warn that another government shutdown is possible in January.
Republicans have "repeatedly chosen reckless dysfunction and obstructions to President Obama instead of commonsense solutions," Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., chairman of the Democratic campaign committee, said in a memo to House Democrats this week.
Walden made clear that Republicans will argue that those criticisms pale in comparison to millions of Americans getting notices of canceled health policies and higher costs for premiums.
He said Democrats who echoed Obama in saying that if people like their health plans, they can keep it won't be able to escape those statements.
Repeating a quote from a pundit, Walden said, "If you don't like your Democratic House member, you don't have to keep him or her."