January 5th, 2011
11:27 AM ET

New Congress: Symbolism early, sizzle to come

Ed Hornick

Washington (CNN) - As the new Congress convenes Wednesday, the initial focus for Republicans, fresh off their 2010 midterm election victories, will start off symbolic with the legislative meat to be served shortly after.

House Speaker John Boehner recently laid out his vision for the upcoming session, vowing to make the "people's House" more transparent. His first order of business will be passing a new set of rules for the legislative chamber.

And in a move to satisfy the leanings of the Tea Party movement, which propelled the GOP to its historic takeover of the House, the Constitution will be read aloud on the House floor on the second day of the new session. In addition, all new bills must meet a constitutional test.

And the first significant legislative item Boehner wants to tackle? President Barack Obama's health care reform law.

GOP leaders unveiled legislation Tuesday that would repeal the law. Republicans, according to House GOP sources, plan a key procedural vote on Friday and a final vote next Wednesday.

Many argue the repeal legislation is more symbolic than anything else. While it may pass the GOP-dominated House, its future in the Senate is uncertain. Democrats are still in the majority after all - and if it gets passed the Senate, Obama can veto the legislation.

Republicans might control the House, but they don't have the two-thirds it would take to override a presidential veto.

But they might take another route - cutting off funding to the law or changing parts of it.

Republicans are adamant the law is hurting jobs - something that is topic No. 1 for them and a majority of Americans demanding change.

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soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Vincent

    Mr.Cooper, I listen to you every night on XM because of what I do I can't watch TV. I've listened to politicians and even the insignificant such as Rose Ann Barr and Micheal Moore. Their opinions mean nothing to the American people and those elected treating us like population surplus when it was them who put us in this situation. I know what its like to be laid off and fortunately in my line of work there is still a call for bit for many there is not. Just today I was driving from a shopping center and on the way out there was guy standing on the corner holding a sign. (will work for food)I didn't know him but I recognized him from somewhere. I listen to a lot of talk radio and have heard many well know-ens be interviewed. My question is, when will anyone take the time and interview a real person? A blue collar worker? Actually get our thoughts on how we think we got here? I know and yet no one will admit it the facts. Our politicians blame home owners for making the wrong investments for which they say caused the new lending rules. If any one would like to hear a real educated answer just ask someone like me, a real American worker like everyone else who has been kicked several times as we are down. I have the answer and I can tell you one thing for now. I would be ahead of the game if were able to refinance my home and pay more income tax and still have more to spend had they not changed the rules. So, if you want to hear whats really on the public's mind, interview me. The obvious is in everyone's face but you won't get one politician to admit it.
    Thank you

    January 6, 2011 at 3:29 am |
  2. J.V.Hodgson

    Fed up of the symbolism and the rhetoric from Republicans. Where is the $100 bn in spending cuts going to come from Ooops sorry backtracking already maybe only $50bn., still where from?
    The constitutionality of bills to the House is an existing requirement.
    His first legislative requirement is a 5% cut to the House budget saving $50BN? (I think it should be $50m) unless that amendment is so that means it currently costs $1 trillion in spending to run a 435 employee person company. Thats almost $230m per head!!
    Health care and Job hurting!? Fine words please explain where and how jobs wise,. If 32m people need care in hospitals and via doctors above those now getting it and the excluded patients needing to be treated that means more health care workershospital staff Doctors and Pharmacists.
    I can see the horrendous increase in Private insurance health care policies of the past N years leading to some small and medium size and large business reducing coverage or staff, but that is not a direct result of the " Affordable Care Act" rather the private industry having to face real medical insurance cover costs by not being able to exclude pre conditions, cap lifetine cover payments etc all designed to keep premiums within profit targets but not the best health intersts of policy holders.
    I want specifics not rhetoric from Republicans and Democrats.

    January 6, 2011 at 1:47 am |
  3. Annie Kate

    The upcoming 2 years are beginning to sound like the years Newt Gingrich led the Congress during Clinton's administration. Things got really nasty then and the atmosphere seems to be inching towards that atmosphere again. Hopefully, the GOPs will just go with form on health care and when they fail to repeal it they will go on to other issues, rather than making things worse by not funding stuff. They sing the song that "Obamacare" is costing the economy jobs and too much money but most of Obamacare hasn't even taken effect yet so how can it have had an impact? If this is the only issue that the GOP has to rail about then the next two years don't look too good for any of us.

    January 5, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
  4. Martina

    The only businesses that are hurting are small and medium business. Big businesses and corporations have tax breaks.

    Tax cuts during the Bush administration didn't seem to help jobs. Seems that's when more jobs were lost. So I don't understand the Republican thinking that tax cuts will help create jobs.

    I also don't understand why Republicans practically held hostage agreeing to extend unemployment benefits until they got what "they" wanted...extension of tax cuts for the wealthy. How do think those benefits are going to be paid? Fairies and magic? That's what taxes are for. To benefit the whole of the United States, not just the people who have the power, money and influence to get what the politicians want for themselves and their lobbyists "friends".

    The country seems to be on a path of a depressive economy and a crumbling infrastructure if the wealthy (people and businesses, foreign and her at home) pay less and less of their share of taxes.

    January 5, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  5. Terry

    Can you please tell the Republican leaders that we are watching, and that making the healthcare plan the priority issue in congress is not in the American peoples best interest. I'm also not sure that boasting about everything getting past in the last couple weeks was because they were being bi-partisan is the best or honest reason that things got done. I would think the reason was because the Democrats held their Christmas vacation hostage. Its amazing to me how much they can actually get done when its in their own best interest.

    January 5, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  6. Gary

    Republicans are waisting our time and money with health care...its done. Move on to something you can change...wait they.don't understand how to actually accomplish anything.

    January 5, 2011 at 12:11 pm |