Republicans’ deficit reduction platform, which may have helped catapult them into the majority, is about to run headlong into a hard reality: Many of their key policy goals will increase the deficit dramatically.
To get around this fact, they’ve included measures in their new rules package to exempt some of their biggest legislative priorities from deficit consideration. Among the exceptions, which the House is likely to consider in the 112th Congress, are the health care repeal bill (scheduled for a vote a week from Wednesday), the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts, an AMT patch, extending the estate tax, and more.
The health care law, according to the Congressional Budget Office, will reduce the deficit by $143 billion through the end of the decade, and more so in the decade after that. Thus, repealing the law will blow a similarly sized hole in the deficit.
Republicans wave this off.
“No one believes that the job-killing health care law will lower costs, because it won’t,” Michael Steel, spokesman for incoming House Speaker John Boehner, told Politico. “That’s why we’ve pledged to repeal it, and replace it with common-sense reforms that will actually work.”
That statement echoes what Republicans have been saying for months now. But the CBO has said explicitly that repealing health care reform would cause the deficit to increase. The House GOP is set to ignore that warning when they hold their vote on repeal next week.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.