The Repeal Fairy Tale

Mar 23, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Republicans already have introduced a bill that seeks to repeal the health care reforms passed this week by Democrats, but only the most delusional of GOP “true believers” expect it has a chance of passage.—-

U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) introduced the bill and 12 other GOP senators had signed on as co-sponsors as of Tuesday night. Greater Cincinnati’s own Rob Portman, a Senate wannabe, announced today he also supports the effort, as has presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

Maybe someone should teach this group some math.

In the House of Representatives, there currently are 253 Democrats and 178 Republicans, with four vacant seats.

In the Senate, there currently are 57 Democrats, 41 Republicans and two independents.

Because it’s highly doubtful that the GOP will convince any Democrats who supported the bill to change their votes, that means Republicans would need to win 40 House seats and 10 Senate seats in this fall’s election to gain simple majorities to pass the bill. But to repeal some of the reforms — like the individual insurance mandate — they would need 60 votes in the Senate, meaning the GOP would have to gain 19 seats.

Even then, it wouldn’t be signed into law because there’s no doubt President Obama would veto it. To override a veto, Republicans would need two-thirds of each house.

That means 67 senators and 290 House members. To achieve that goal, Republicans would need to gain 26 seats in the Senate and 112 in the House.

Who believes that will happen?

To dangle the possibility of repeal before their supporters appears to be a cynical fundraising ploy for GOP lawmakers up for election this fall.

History shows that it’s rare for a party to have a veto-proof majority in the House. The last time it happened was in 1977-79, when Democrats had 292 representatives. Republicans last held the position in 1921-23, when they had 300 representatives.

Republicans will need to at least gain simple majorities in the November election to try another tactic to derail reforms, by simply not funding them.

This week’s Porkopolis column, in issues of CityBeat that hit streets Wednesday, examines why that’s unlikely and why lawsuits filed against the reforms by the attorneys general in 12 states probably also will be rejected.