The flippant nature of H.R. 2, the Republicans’ bill to repeal health care reform, is broadcast right away in the bill’s over-the-top name: The Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act. House Republicans know that their bill won’t be passed into law. Even if the bill passes the House, it won’t be approved by the Senate, and even if it passed the Senate, it would be vetoed by the President. H.R. 2 is pure political theatre.
Even as frivolous theatre, H.R. 2 demonstrates some important points about the Republican agenda in Congress, however. During last year’s campaigns, Republican candidates promised to shrink the deficit and lower spending. Republican leaders admitted that they had expanded the deficit and heightened spending the last time they had been in power, but promised that they had learned their lesson, and would act differently if given control of the House again.
H.R. 2, however, represents a shift in the direction of increased spending. The result, according to a report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, is that “H.R. 2 would probably increase federal budget deficits”. In the report, the CBO concludes that “over the 2012–2021 period, the effect of H.R. 2 on federal deficits as a result of changes in direct spending and revenues is likely to be an increase in the vicinity of $230 billion”.
With the health care repeal bill, introduced on the very first day of the 112th Congress, Republicans threaten to place the United States deeper in debt, with increased spending. Do House Republicans now believe that deficit spending is a good thing?