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Gingrich demands GOP put pressure on certain Senate Dems to repeal health care reform

Though former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich has yet to launch a formal presidential exploratory committee, despite his Newt Explore 2012 website, the potential presidential candidate is still constantly making media appearances imposing threats and policy inconsistencies (i.e., his position on sending troops to Libya: “Exercise a no-fly zone this evening.”/ “I would not have intervened.”).

On the anniversary week of the passage of the Obama administration’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Gingrich went on the Hugh Hewitt radio talk show and said House Republicans need to continue pushing the repeal of the health care reform law (a measure that was approved by the House but has gone nowhere in the Senate), by packaging the repeal with the debt ceiling increase. The strategy, he said, should be to put political pressure on vulnerable Senate Democrats.

Gingrich told Hewitt:

“I personally favor passing the repeal of Obamacare, putting it on the debt ceiling, going to the country. The House Republicans have the votes to put it in the debt ceiling. They should do it very early. And then they should go to the country and focus attention on the Democrats in the Senate. There are 23 Democratic seats up in 2012. And we ought to try to bring enough pressure to bear on individual Democrats like Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Bill Nelson of Florida, that we are able to actually get the repeal of Obamacare through the Senate, and then say to the President, if you want to meet your Constitutional obligations and avoid a crisis on the debt ceiling, you either have to sign the repeal of Obamacare, or you have to provide a comparable $2 trillion dollars in savings.”

On the show, Hewitt pointed to the Health Care Compact Alliance, which is being used as a strategy for states to fight back against the federal health care law. The alliance, which is chaired by Eric O’Keefe, a private investor from Wisconsin, provides “tools that enable citizens to exert greater control over their government” and “was developed to offer Americans more influence over decisions that govern health care.” The alliance keeps donors identities confidential. (Read more about the Health Care Compact Alliance at The Texas Independent.)

Last week, the Health Care Compact passed in Georgia, Gingrich’s home state and the first state out of the 12 where it’s been introduced to pass both the state House and the Senate.

Gingrich told Hewitt that he was “aware” of the HCC and that he “thinks it’s a good idea.”

Gingrich also said he’s in favor of a government shutdown unless Congress agrees on a long-term spending plan, which Roll Call points out could happen April 9.

A day after Hewitt’s conversation with Gingrich and after speaking with Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), the talk show host posted the following on his blog:

I am alarmed that both of these senators seem willing to vote for a debt ceiling hike in exchange for legislative language on future spending caps, when what is needed immediately and urgently are deep cuts in current spending and entitlement reform. Both men are serious, thoughtful conservatives, and no doubt spending caps are a good idea, but I don’t see how promises of future good behavior will work to control the deficits we are piling to the sky right now.

If there is a genuine fiscal crisis in the land brought about by trillions and trillions in deficits, the Congressional Republicans ought to be more willing to confront the president and Senate Democrats, even to the point of impasse and a partial government shut-down.

If the peril is real, they have to be willing to make a difficult argument to the public.

Nobody wants a partial government shut-down, but nobody wants surgery or chemo when cancer is discovered either. If federal spending is the cancer in the body politic that is threatening the nation’s viability, currency and growth, then the GOP has to be willing to do what it takes to remedy the problem.

(Emphasis in the original)

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