Some House Members In Health Care Repeal Hotseat

January 19, 2011

Frank James

How do you add drama to an undramatic fait accompli?

If you're talking about the House health care law repeal vote scheduled for Wednesday (the Republicans have significantly more votes than they need to pass their repeal bill so its passage has been a foregone conclusion for months) then you tease out the minidramas within the larger vote.

The Fix blog at the Washington Post has done us that service. While there are Democrats who because they are in Republican leaning districts, the few Republicans are even more interesting because they have the Tea Party to be concerned about.

An excerpt:

* Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.): Duffy did not push for a repeal of the health care law in his 2010 campaign, and unlike a lot of Republicans, he's actually pointed to some of the good things contained in the law (coverage for pre-existing conditions, etc.). His district could be friendlier after Republicans redraw the map, but it went 56 percent for President Obama in 2008, and he doesn't have an easy vote here. He's also getting some pressure from the local press.

* Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.): Hanna, like Duffy, is a freshman from a tough district who has balked at the idea of a full repeal. Hanna has not said how he will vote, and he stresses some of the finer points of the bill that he would like to keep. With both he and Duffy, though, you've got to remember: a vote against repeal would be the equivalent of begging for a tea party primary challenger. A 'no' vote from either would be a true shocker.

Duffy, who starred in MTV's "Real World: Boston" reality show, filled the open seat vacated by the long-serving David Obey. Duffy is now in the ultimate reality show called Congress where tough votes are by definition ones that can return to haunt you.

Hanna, who beat the incumbent Democrat Michael Arcuri, repeatedly criticized his opponent for supporting the health care law.

So he could argue more effectively than Duffy that a vote for repeal would be consistent with his campaign.

Duffy, by contrast, seems to have the tougher vote. So if you want keep it simple, he'd be the one to focus on. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.