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CBS: ObamaCare Repeal Vote A 'Risky Proposition' for GOP, Not 'Serious'

Talking to Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer on Wednesday's Early Show, co-host Chris Wragge saw efforts to repeal ObamaCare as a political liability: "How risky a proposition is this for Republicans incoming now?" Schieffer dismissed it as, "a lot of shouting, hollering, and symbolic votes," adding, "we've got a couple of months before anything really serious is going to happen."

Wragge went on to cite liberal New York Times writer Matt Bai, who claimed Republicans had no real political mandate despite extensive victories in November: "Once you win, the human tendency is to credit the gravitational force of your own ideas, to assume that you made a more compelling and more substantive case than you actually did." Wragge asked Schieffer: "Is that what we may see in the early days from the Republican leadership here, do you think?"

Schieffer asserted: "The reasons the Republicans were swept into office in the House is fairly simple. The economy was on the blink." He then warned: "And somewhere along the line here they're going to have to get serious and see what they can do about getting people back to work. Because if this economy continues on in kind of the dump that it's in right now, you're going to see a lot of these people who just came to Washington getting a ticket to go home."

Wragge reiterated the idea that any move to repeal ObamaCare would be a mistake for the GOP: "...which goes back to my first question about this being a risky move with health care reform being the first item up for bid. The American people, it's all about jobs, it's all about the economy." Schieffer declared Republicans were just "doing things that can get people here re-elected."

Schieffer also used the opportunity to bash Republican plans to cut spending: "Republicans are talking about trying to cut $100 billion out of the budget this year. If they did that, it would require 20% cuts in such things as transportation, for example. You talk about putting the economy in even worse shape than it is, when you start talking about those kinds of cuts, it would - well, who knows what would happen. These numbers are totally unrealistic."

Prior to the discussion between Wragge and Schieffer, congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes reported: "John Boehner takes control of the House with an ambitious agenda to cripple the President's health care reform law, revamp his financial reform law, and launch investigations into the administration's spending habits." She went on to relay Democratic talking points: "Bipartisan bickering is already under way, with Democrats saying that the vote House Republicans have called for next week to repeal the health care law is a waste of time and a cheap shot."

Here is a full transcript of the January 5 segment:

7:00AM ET TEASE:

ERICA HILL: Battling Obama. Republicans take control of the House of Representatives today with a promise to take on the President and his agenda. We'll go live to Capitol Hill for a preview of the big day in Washington.

7:03AM ET SEGMENT:

CHRIS WRAGGE: Now to politics. It's a new era in Washington today as Republicans take charge of the House of Representatives for the first time in four years. Taking the gavel from Nancy Pelosi will be incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner. CBS News congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes is in Washington this morning with the very latest for us on what is going to be a very busy day. Nancy, good morning.

NANCY CORDES: It is, Chris, and you can almost feel the power dynamics shifting here in Washington as Republicans prepare to take a 49-seat majority in the House with a one-time janitor now becoming the third in line for the presidency.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: New Year, New Congress; GOP Takes Control of House Today]

John Boehner takes control of the House with an ambitious agenda to cripple the President's health care reform law, revamp his financial reform law, and launch investigations into the administration's spending habits.

NORM ORNSTEIN [AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE]: Boehner and his House Republicans want to erase every trace of Barack Obama having been president and all of Obama's policies.

CORDES: In a recent 60 Minutes interview, Boehner admitted there's not much he and the President agree on.

JOHN BOEHNER: I think he's engaging. Certainly smart. Brilliant. But, you know, we come from different backgrounds.

CORDES: Democrat Nancy Pelosi, who today will give back the gavel Boehner handed her in 2007, tried to put the best spin on the GOP's new 49-seat majority.

NANCY PELOSI: I wish them success. I look forward to working with them. But that' the key, we look forward.

CORDES: Bipartisan bickering is already under way, with Democrats saying that the vote House Republicans have called for next week to repeal the health care law is a waste of time and a cheap shot.

ROSA DELAURO [REP. D-CT]: The fact of the matter is we're not going to repeal health care. It is not going to happen.

CORDES: But with House Republicans vowing to hold scores of these symbolic votes on health care, the issue that consumed Congress in its last term might take up much of this term too.

ORNSTEIN: It's very unlikely that Republicans can do more than a series of flesh wounds. They can do damage. They can do mischief. They can't destroy the health care plan as it moves forward.

CORDES: When Boehner delivers his first address as speaker this afternoon, he's expected to say that tough choices are necessary to bring jobs back to this economy. But Republicans have not said yet what they think those tough choices should be. Chris.

WRAGGE: CBS's Nancy Cordes for us this morning. Nancy, thank you. Joining us now is CBS News chief White House - excuse me - Washington correspondent and host of Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer. Bob, good morning to you.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Good morning, Chris.

WRAGGE: Well, as we heard it and we see this is an energized, emboldened GOP, their first order of business is to repeal the President's health care reform act, which is virtually impossible. So let me ask you, how risky a proposition is this for Republicans incoming now?

SCHIEFFER: Oh, risky or not, it's something they simply have to do. You had all these people that got elected back in November with a Tea Party backing who are demanding that spending be cut and that all of the Obama programs be rolled back. So what you're going to see here is some people will call it just wasting time. Others will call it symbolic. You're going to see all these votes, starting with a vote to repeal health care. Now every Republican in the House knows that no matter what - how the vote comes out and they'll probably vote to overturn health care, it's going to die in the Senate because the votes just aren't there. But we have to go through all of this as we always do with every Congress, no matter who's in control of either House, get all of this stuff out of the way - a lot of shouting, hollering, and symbolic votes - and then sometime later in the year, I guess they'll get down to business. But we've got a couple of months before anything really serious is going to happen, I would say.

WRAGGE: I want to read you something that Matt Bai wrote in today's New York Times, there's a quote I want to pull up for you: 'Once you win, the human tendency is to credit the gravitational force of your own ideas, to assume that you made a more compelling and more substantive case than you actually did.' Is that what we may see in the early days from the Republican leadership here, do you think?

SCHIEFFER: Well, I think it's fair to say that no one ever got elected to any office, any federal office in America, who thought he got elected because his opponent was stupid or dumb. They all think it is because they had the best ideas and they ran the best campaign, but the fact is people get elected for different reasons. The reasons the Republicans were swept into office in the House is fairly simple. The economy was on the blink. And somewhere along the line here they're going to have to get serious and see what they can do about getting people back to work. Because if this economy continues on in kind of the dump that it's in right now, you're going to see a lot of these people who just came to Washington getting a ticket to go home. Voters were angry this time and they're going to be even angrier the next time around if this economy doesn't get better.

WRAGGE: Well, do you see that as being a problem, though, which goes back to my first question about this being a risky move with health care reform being the first item up for bid. The American people, it's all about jobs, it's all about the economy. Don't you feel that they've shown in the past, especially with midterm elections, that that's where they want the focus?

SCHIEFFER: Yes, I think it is. But where the Congress is going to focus is on doing things that can get people here re-elected. And you know, they had these promises from people back home, they told them they'll cut spending. Republicans are talking about trying to cut $100 billion out of the budget this year. If they did that, it would require 20% cuts in such things as transportation, for example. You talk about putting the economy in even worse shape than it is, when you start talking about those kinds of cuts, it would - well, who knows what would happen. These numbers are totally unrealistic. But we have to go through this operation of letting everybody get on the record and saying, you know, we voted to cut spending and the other part is, you know, House members don't like Senate members very well any way. They would love to pass legislation, send it over to the Senate, and then put the senators in a bind with the folks back home. They just love that sort of thing.

WRAGGE: Yeah, let's see what the American people think. Alright, Bob. Thank you very much, good to talk with you this morning.

SCHIEFFER: You bet.

WRAGGE: Bob Schieffer in Washington for us. There will be no shortage of topics to discuss over the next few months.

HILL: No, there will not.

WRAGGE: Hopefully it's not years, but it's going to be very active in Washington for the foreseeable future.

HILL: That is for sure.

 

- Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.