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Mitt Romney, House GOP Prepare for Health Ruling

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers met with other House Republicans this week ahead of the Supreme Court’s decision on President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney dispatched two health care advisers to Capitol Hill this week and House GOP leaders met with their rank and file behind closed doors for a final time to promote a unified front ahead of Monday’s anticipated Supreme Court decision on President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Regardless of whether the law is found constitutional, Republicans are hoping to avoid any intraparty squabbles that could jeopardize Romney’s chances at the White House.

House Majority Whip Kevin
McCarthy (Calif.) held his last scheduled listening session about the GOP’s health care plans Wednesday afternoon. In the well-attended meeting, an aide to Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) gave a presentation and Republican Policy Committee Chairman Tom Price (Ga.), a doctor, answered questions, according to a source in the room.

Believing that the health care bill will be held unconstitutional, Rep. Steve King (Iowa) told the room that he fears that if Obama is re-elected, he could appoint more liberal Supreme Court justices to relitigate the law and “stick it in our ear.”

“So our best plan of action is to win the election,” King said, according to the source in the meeting.

Undoubtedly with the same intention in mind, Romney health care advisers — Tevi Troy, the George W. Bush-era deputy director of the Department of Health and Human Services, and Matt Hoffmann, a former staffer to House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.) — met Tuesday with Members.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Romney’s liaison to the House, said the meetings with Republican doctors, GOP freshmen and other interested Members were a way to increase communication between the Romney team and Congressional Republicans, though she was scant on details of Romney’s post-decision plans.

“We’re still having some of those conversations, trying to be prepared for the three ways the court may rule,” the Washington Republican said. “We really need to wait until we hear what the Supreme Court ruling is before we make any of those decisions.”

One Republican aide, however, noted that “the Romney team is with us on the notion that, no matter how the court rules, we should do a full repeal vote in the House, start the health care reform process over from scratch, take the time we need to do it right (including close consultation with the American people), and never try to re-enact any mandates, even if popular, that the court has struck down or weakened.”

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton said he has also been having discussions with Romney surrogates, as well as top committee chairmen, “to get ready to change your schedule beginning next week.”

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