Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 6, 2016

House Republicans: ‘We Lost’

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, walks to the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol to discuss the Senate deal to end the government shutdown and avert the debt limit crisis on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Despite defeat, Republican rank and file largely support Boehner. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans emerged from an all-hands meeting Wednesday afternoon waving the white flag.

After a two-and-a-half-week government shutdown and on the brink of the deadline to raise the debt ceiling, the GOP rank and file said leadership was prepared to bring up the Senate-crafted compromise bill that largely skimps on the Obamacare concessions for which they fought.

The mood was somber in the basement of the Capitol as lawmakers trickled out of the conference room, readily sharing with reporters their sense of resignation. Even if Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, loses votes from the majority of his majority on the Senate deal, nearly all House Democrats are expected to vote in favor, which would ensure the package’s victory.

Some of the starkest pronouncements of defeat came from committee chairmen.

“It’s better to win than it is to lose,” said Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp of Michigan. “We lost.”

“Sure, there are regrets,” agreed Rules Chairman Pete Sessions of Texas.

“Hindsight is 20/20,” Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers of Kentucky said when asked to reflect on the developments of the past month. “But the [Senate] bill does look a lot like the resolution I introduced three weeks ago.”

Some Republicans were even writing the epitaph on the tombstone of their struggle to defund the president’s health law 24 hours earlier. On Tuesday afternoon, Rep. Steve Womack of Arkansas wondered aloud whether his party might have been better off going along with leadership’s original plan: to force the Senate to take an up-or-down vote on repealing Obamacare but otherwise advance a “clean” continuing resolution.

“At the end of this process,” Womack said, “we may end up to the left of that.

“I don’t think anyone wanted to be in the spot we’re in right now.”

For many members on Wednesday afternoon, emotions of defeat were tempered with determination for future victories. Many House Republicans said they were ready to move on.

“I believe that anytime that you stand and fight on principle and you fight for what your voters sent you to fight for, why would you have regrets?” said Rep. Matt Salmon of Arizona. “I have no regrets on fighting the fight. Obviously I wish there would have been a different outcome.

“It’s not over,” Salmon said. “It’s Round One.”

“[Boehner] said he was ready to fight on,” said Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia, characterizing the speaker’s comments at the Wednesday conference meeting. “We gotta get rid of Obamacare.”

Rep. Peter T. King of New York, who has for nearly the entirety of the government shutdown been calling for a vote on a clean CR, had a different takeaway from the events of the past 15 days: The blame lies in the hands of Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

“I think it’s important for Republican leaders around the country to speak out against him and neutralize him, otherwise he’ll start to say the same nonsense again in December or January,” King said of Cruz. “He’s the guy that caused this, he’s the guy that caused us defeat, he’s the guy who was a fraud because he never had a strategy to begin with. If we were to let him do it again, it’s our fault.”

King said he had no criticism of Boehner and his lieutenants, who were faced with a difficult task of leading a volatile GOP conference through uncharted political terrain. Even those Republicans who are likely to vote against the Senate bill on Wednesday evening have said they don’t feel compelled to mount an insurrection against their speaker for ultimately deciding not to stand firm against Obamacare.

“I’m very proud of our leadership,” said loyal Boehner ally Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma. “We gave ’em a hell of a fight … we went into the fight together, hopefully we’ll leave the fight together.”

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida also walked out of the meeting a happy warrior.

“The purpose of this tactic was because we thought we could get Democrats in the Senate to go along,” Diaz-Balart said, “and that unfortunately didn’t work. Tomorrow’s another day.”

  • PissedOffVet

    Yep, tomorrow’s another day because Congress is already exempt from Obamacare. We the people are not and, if this article is true, we were just abandoned.

    • Lars_the_pianist

      Personally as a retired but pre-Medicare age person, I’m happy no insurance company can deny me or my wife coverage (regardless of what conditions we develop in the next few years.) For me that’s a plus of ACA.

      What do you dislike so much about it?

      • dcnj


        • Lars_the_pianist

          nope – not even close. you should see your shrink about your paranoid delusions.

          • dcnj


        • PissedOffVet

          Are you calling me a vegetable? I assure you sir, I am no plant.

      • PissedOffVet

        Of course you aren’t denied “coverage”, that would mess with the statistics they need to create to call this fiasco a success. They will give you “coverage” and take your money. The real problem comes when you have a serious health issue (I have leukemia) and you need treatment. At this point, a bunch of bean counters decide what, if any, treatment you receive. So, you end up getting the cheapest instead of the best that’s available, possibly even just getting a placebo to attempt to induce a psychosomatic response, to make you think you are being taken care of while the condition advances. Obamacare is a great deal, unless you happen to have medical conditions or are part of the working class.

        • Lars_the_pianist

          I’m sorry to hear about your condition. You’re correct – I don’t have to deal with leukemia – or cancer at this time.

          I’m currently covered by a “retiree” plan from my former employer. Whether they cut us loose or not – I’ll find out in about a month. It’s cheaper than what I can buy on a exchange – and I have priced this out (age works against you in the Obamacare system – vs. being with a self insuring employer.)

          The whole health care thing is pretty screwed up in the US (I have been an engineer and design manager for multinational companies — with reports and team member scattered all over. One of my former employees moved back to Europe so his wife could do a stem cell research project. We keep in contact – and I hear the difference between health care here and there.)

          Tying the health care to work created another problem – many companies “self insure” – they collect the premiums and then use an insurer like Aetna to manage it. If you work for a large company – like I did (>10,000 employees) its fine. Smaller companies – not so good. A friend of ours has a daughter that developed a big brain tumor – (6 years old) – required 2 complicated surgeries. Since the company only has 50 employees – the self insured premium pot ran out of money – and every body had to “pay extra.” Insurance only works for large numbers.

          I hope things don’t work out to be as bad as you think they will be (Obamacare doesn’t really start for another 11 weeks or so?).

          I’d be interested to know….

          (Is your treatment covered by the VA or another insurer?)


          • PissedOffVet

            My treatment is currently covered through my civilian employer, though the cost just jumped by about $100 a month so I’m probably going to switch to Tricare and VA as soon as I can. Problem is I pay child support and provide coverage for my children from a previous marriage and I work for the state, so I’ll have to carry double insurance (somehow) for a number of months until Child Support Enforcement gives me permission to shut off my current coverage.

          • Lars_the_pianist

            My belief is that health care basically is a market with inelastic demand – we’ll pay anything to feel better or make a loved one feel better. (It’s not a free market where cost drives things.) When I had my hand surgery (shattered some bones) did I check the cost of the surgeon first? When I had my colonoscopy I just went where my Dr. suggested (the hospital where he was on staff) – I didn’t check price. I selected my Dr. because he was close to work and home – and accepted by my employer’s insurance. Price didn’t factor into anything.

            We know where health care costs go to (30% to Hospitalization – 20% to Physicians – 11% to Drugs — that’s 61%)

            There’s a group in London that track costs insurance companies pay around the world (Int’l Federation of Health Plans). We know that Hospitals in the US cost 6x what they do in other developed countries – Physicians 3x more – Drugs about 3x more.


            We’re getting reamed here. We spend 18% of GDP on health care – other developed countries spend <12% of GDP. How do other countries do it (and the health care is just as good if not better)? They regulate the market – like we do with utilities. Romney was right, Israel spend 8% of GDP on health care — they have exchanges with four non-profit insurers competing – mandatory participation etc. Very ironic.

            We are getting gamed by politicians that want us to believe "everything" is a free market.

          • jwilliamweed

            move to europe slave

          • Lars_the_pianist

            Here’s how the health care system makes you a slave. My former boss had a wife who developed cancer. He wanted to quit his job to take care of his wife – but couldn’t because if she outlived his Cobra benefits they would never be able to buy insurance on the open market (cancer is a pre-exisiting condition.) This is an absolutely true story.

            In today’s system – my former boss could quit – because no insurer could deny him coverage due to his wife’s cancer.

            No, I’m not a slave – I’m self employed (engineering consulting.) I grew up in a working class neighborhood. >4 decades ago I put myself through engineering school while working in steel mills over the summer.

            If you want to see how you and I are both slaves – consider how much more we pay for common drugs than people in Europe. Drugs like Celebrex, Nasonex etc (stuff people my age use.)


      • jwilliamweed

        I am being forced to pay for you LIBTARD

        • Lars_the_pianist

          I pay for my own families health insurance – about $1200/month.

          I don’t recall seeing your monthly check to me – are you sure you are sending it correctly?

          • ThisIsNot4U2

            @Lars…Don’t even bother. He thinks that the taxes from his little temp job (singing telegrams) takes care of half of America.

    • Jack Bauer

      Congress was exempt before the government shutdown and they are still exempt after the shutdown ended cruz’s strategy was never going to change anything about obamacare I mean how would you react if a republican were in the whitehouse and democrats shut down the government because they wanted gun control.

      • Sam Norte

        How would you react if the republicans shut down the government because Obama was rounding up Jews and putting them in gas chambers?

      • jwilliamweed

        ahhh gosh LIBTARD there’s nothing in the Constitution or Bill of Rights about health care, LIBTARD but the 2ad Amendment is there to give me the right to bare arms and shoot anyone who infringes on that right LIBTARD. Want to volunteer to be first?

        • Jack Bauer

          Im an independent and all im saying is cruz’s strategy failed are you disagreeing with that? His strategy was to defund obamacare and it didn’t happen. That is all im saying.

  • Beeker

    It comes to no surprise that the Republicans would lose. The best person to blame is Jim DeMint through Michael Needham of the Heritage Action for America and the best of all Grover Norquist for instigating this losing battle.

    Now on to budget negotiations between the House and the Senate.

  • MrSmith

    The biggest thing I learned from Rollcall’s excellent reporting is how much power the very, very few liberal Republicans in the House have because they are supported by the majority of Republican Senators.
    That cabal constantly thwarts the will of the caucus.
    Oh well, ‘January is another day’ to coin a phrase.

  • Jack Bauer

    This just pisses me off if the republicans hadn’t done this the media would be forced to cover the failure of Obamacare’s rollout but since cruz did what he did it gave the media something else to cover like the government shutdown and at the end of the day obamacare is still the law

    • Sam Norte

      Not allowing Jews to walk on the sidewalk used to be “the law”. Making Jews wear yellow stars used to be “the law”.

      • Jack Bauer

        You misunderstand im not saying obamacare is the law in the way you think. Im saying that republicans just shut the government down to stop it from being the law and it still is. You took it out of context.

      • Jack Bauer

        I don’t believe those were ever American laws.

      • Ryan

        Your attempts to link the law that finally lets my family see a doctor to the laws that led up to the worst tragedy in the history of my faith are disgusting, abhorrent, and deserve absolute contempt.

  • ThisIsNot4U2

    House Republicans: ‘We Lost’

    Yes…Yes you did :-D

  • ThisIsNot4U2

    Republican Congressman Peter King blames their latest FIASCO on Ted Cruz. I think that is THE most sanest comment that I’ve EVER heard to come from the “right”. There may be hope for you IDIOTS after all.

    • jwilliamweed


      • ThisIsNot4U2

        Hey @jwill…You spelled TEABAGGER wrong.

        • jwilliamweed

          how do you spell it LIBTARD, can you figure it out all by urself….see if you can finsd another ms word…LIBTARD

          • ThisIsNot4U2

            Once you’re all signed up for “Obamacare”…we’re going to find you a nice padded cell to “rest” in.

  • jwilliamweed

    We only lost due to RINOS running amok with LIBTARDS RINOS ARE OUT 2014

  • jwilliamweed


  • ThisIsNot4U2

    Senator Cruz is like a “literate” Sarah Palin…And THAT’S not saying much…*smh*…

  • aquinas215

    Even if human nature can sometimes be self-defeating, we should recognize that civilization results from our individual contributions and that making the most of our unique talents is the greatest contribution each of us can make to our fellows.

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