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GOP: Healthcare law draining the economy

Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-N.Y.) charged Saturday that the Democratic healthcare overhaul was dragging down the economy – and added that was just one reason the law needed to be repealed.

Buerkle, speaking not long after the Labor Department issued a disappointing June jobs report, said the healthcare law would make life harder for American companies. And echoing other recent GOP criticisms of the bill, the New York Republican also noted that the Supreme Court had ruled the measure constitutional under Congress’s power to tax.

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“The American people know what has to be done – get Washington out of the way, empower individuals and small businesses, let them flourish – but the president still refuses to change course,” Buerkle, a freshman congresswoman narrowly elected in 2010, said in the weekly GOP address.

“He's doubling down on policies that are holding us back and making things worse, starting with his healthcare law, which is driving up costs and making it harder for small businesses to hire workers.”

Buerkle’s address comes just days before the House is scheduled to vote to repeal the 2010 healthcare law, even as Republicans admit the proposal likely stands no chance in the Senate. 

In all, GOP leaders have said the House has voted to dismantle, defund or repeal the law 30 times in the current Congress, with a repeal vote being one of the first actions Republicans took after taking over the chamber in 2011

With next week's repeal vote in mind, Democrats accused Republicans on Friday of being more interested in political grandstanding than with coming together to help the economy. 

The Labor Department, in its latest report, said that the unemployment rate remained at 8.2 percent in June and that the economy added 80,000 jobs – a third consecutive month of well under 100,000 new net positions. 

Democrats have also said that, while Republicans are quick to say they want to repeal the healthcare law, the GOP has yet to explain how it wants to replace the reforms. 

But as Buerkle’s address illustrates, Republicans declare that just getting rid of the healthcare law, which they dub “ObamaCare,” would give the economy a needed spark. 

Buerkle – who faces a November rematch against former Rep. Dan Maffei, the Democrat she unseated in 2010 – is also among the potentially vulnerable Republicans who are on board with going forward with another repeal vote.

The freshman Republican said in the GOP address that small business owners in her central New York district were growing increasingly anxious about the healthcare overhaul. 

“This healthcare law just flies in the face of what America is supposed to be, and repealing it would revitalize our economy and the values upon which our country was founded,” said Buerkle, who has been both a nurse and a lawyer specializing in healthcare. 

“Then we would finally be able to pursue a common-sense, step-by-step approach that protects Americans’ access to the care they need, from the doctor they choose, at a lower cost.”

The latest GOP address also underscores that both parties will again be pushing hard to attract and offer more opportunities to middle-class voters, with both Buerkle and President Obama saying recently that they had gotten more chances to succeed because they lived in the U.S.

Obama, finishing up a two-day swing through the key states of Ohio and Pennsylvania, said Friday that he would push to grow the economy from the “middle out.” The president added that, like other Democrats, he believes the wealthiest taxpayers should contribute more to reduce deficits, to protect other needed programs. 

Buerkle, meanwhile, highlighted an upcoming House vote to extend all Bush-era tax rates in the GOP address, and said that Republicans had already tried to act to strip away regulations and other barriers to economic growth.

“Middle-class families know what has to be done, and they shouldn't have to stomach another dismal jobs report before we take action to rebuild our economy and renew the promise of the American Dream,” Buerkle said.