Dems plot attack on healthcare repeal

Jan. 6, 2011 at 10:31 AM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Senior Democratic officials in the U.S. House say they're planning their counterattack to Republicans' vow to repeal the healthcare law next week.

Democratic officials said their effort will be overseen by a rapid response operation similar to ones used by Barack Obama during his presidential bid, The New York Times reported Thursday.

The rapid-response team will monitor Republican claims, send out fact checks and deploy surrogates to get their views publicized on television, Democrats said.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, scheduled a vote for Wednesday on a measure that would completely repeal the healthcare legislation Obama signed last March.

"We will make clear to the American people, that as their first order of business, Republicans have decided not to focus on jobs and deficit reduction, but on relitigating partisan battles -- that, if successful, would eliminate help for our job-creating small business and explode the deficit," Hari Sevugan, a Democratic National Committee spokesman, told the Times.

The president and his allies were criticized by liberals for not defending healthcare legislation during the midterm election campaign. Democratic candidates seldom mounted a strong defense of the bill and some ran ads against the legislation.

But the situation now is different, Democrats tell the Times. During the campaign, Democratic candidates had to speculate about what Republicans might do if elected. Now they know -- and the repeal vote puts a bull's-eye on Boehner.

"We're not talking about benefits which you may get down the road," Sevugan said. "We are talking about taking away benefits you enjoy right now -- tangible benefits with value. This puts us on offense."

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