GOP lacks Obamacare replacement plan

The GOP has no Obamacare replacement; AG targets dark money; incumbents survive; and other top Tuesday stories

Published June 27, 2012 12:23PM (EDT)

The GOP's Obamacare replacement plan: Nada: If the Supreme Court strikes down the Affordable Care Act tomorrow, House Republicans have nothing prepared to replace it with. The GOP "won't rush" to pass anything in its place, Politico reports, and will instead "let legislation slowly wind its way through committees and get debated, dissected and amended."  This go-slow approach "is a shift from where the party was a few weeks ago. Earlier this month, top GOP officials were privately deliberating what legislation they would push to fill the gap caused by a full strike-down of Obama’s healthcare law. Corralling lawmakers behind hefty legislative proposals in an election year would also be a tough task."

Democrats, meanwhile, are a bit farther along. “We have different proposed drafts for different contingencies,” said Senator Tom Harkin, the chairman of the Health Committee.

AG goes after big political spenders: New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, who has become a bit of a progressive hero for his tough action against banks, "has begun investigating contributions to tax-exempt groups that are heavily involved in political campaigns, focusing on a case involving the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has been one of the largest outside groups seeking to influence recent elections but is not required to disclose its donors." The New York Times reports: "Mr. Schneiderman issued a wide-ranging subpoena on Tuesday to executives at a foundation affiliated with the chamber, seeking e-mails, bank records and other documents to determine whether the foundation illegally funneled $18 million to the chamber for political and lobbying activities, according to people with knowledge of the investigation."

Justices' health struggles could influence thinking: The Hill's Elise Viebeck notes that the personal medical histories of the Supreme Court's nine justices may influence their thinking on the Affordable Care Act. While much of their medical record is private, some emergencies, such as Cheif Justice John Robert's seizure in 2007, have been reported in the press. “Justices live in society and are no doubt affected by their own life experiences,” said George Washington University Professor Paul Wahlbeck. “Their [healthcare experiences] might actually feed into their policy preferences on what is good law and what is good public policy. That could, in turn, shape their judicial views.”

Freedom-lover Rand Paul hates DC freedom: Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul talks a big game on the importance of states' rights and liberty, but he thwarted an effort to give the 600,000 disenfranchised residents of the District of Columbia a modicum of self-control yesterday. Washington, DC currently doesn't fully control its own budget, and Paul killed a bill designed to do just that by attaching a slew of unrelated amendments on gun control, abortion and labor unions. DC mayor Vincent Gray called on fellow Democrats to pull support from the measure, saying, “Senator Paul’s proposed amendments are an insult to the people of our city." Paul explained his motivations: “We don’t have [control] over the states, but we do for D.C.”

Incumbents okay: Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah, survived his Republican primary last night against one of the toughest challengers he's faced in more than three decades in the Senate. Tea Party groups and super PACs had spent heavily to defeat Hatch.

Meanwhile, in New York City, embattled Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel fended off four challengers to win a nomination (and thus likely a general election win) for a 22nd term in Congress. "Rangel was censured in 2010 after the House Ethics Committee found him guilty of 11 counts of ethical violations, including failure to pay taxes, improper solicitation of donations and failure to report his personal income accurately."

By Alex Seitz-Wald

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