In their final press conference before handing over control of the House to Republicans, Democrats promised that the soon-to-be majority party would fail at repealing health care reform.


House Republicans announced Monday a plan for a Jan. 12 vote to keep their campaign promise and repeal President Barack Obama's health care reform laws. The resolution introduced by Republicans says it would "repeal the job-killing health care law and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010."

But Democrats have said the attempt amounts to little more than a stunt.

"This repeal of health care reform is political theater," Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) said at Monday's press conference. "It's a kabuki dance... repeal of health care reform is not going to happen."

Even if House Republicans were able to pass the bill, Democrats could simply refuse to bring it up for a vote in the Senate, where they still have control. If the bill were brought up for a vote in the Senate, Republicans would need 12 Democrats to vote with them to break a filibuster.

Assuming that Republicans overcame all of those hurdles, the president could simply veto the bill.

Another potential problem for Republicans is that repealing health care would run up the deficit. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has said that health care reform will reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion.

The CBO has also said (.pdf) that a plan to alter Medicare and Medicaid, proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), would actually increase the deficit.

Under new House rules proposed by Republicans, all new legislation that increases spending would have to be paid for. But Republicans have solved this dilemma by exempting repeal from those rules.

The new rules give Ryan unprecedented power to unilaterally set spending and revenue limits.

"[Republicans] also talk about being -- making deficit reduction a priority," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) noted. "Yet, the first thing out of the gate they are trying to do is repeal health care reform which explodes the deficit."

"They're going to employ budget gimmicks to try and hide the cost of their actions," Rep Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) said. "What they are going to try to do is engage in Enron-type accounting to say that when they try and move to repeal health care a week from tomorrow, that the hit on the deficit will not matter."

"That kind of flim-flam is exactly what the American people came to expect the last time the Republicans were in charge," he added.

This video is from C-SPAN, broadcast Jan. 4, 2010.