At this point, Democrats appear to be sticking together, and although a handful will reportedly vote with the GOP on repeal, a mass exodus is unlikely.
“I’m not concerned about that,” Hoyer said Tuesday when asked about the possibility of defections.
Hoyer and other Democrats also warned that they will in many ways emulate the GOP during the last session and try to exploit instances where Republicans are unable to live up to their campaign pledges.
“We also intend to hold Republicans accountable for the representations they made to the American people. As they did us,” Hoyer warned.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), vice chairwoman of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, agreed, saying: “What we’re going to be watching for is Republican hypocrisies, where they continue their meaningless, empty campaign rhetoric, which when they get here — and they’re in charge now — they back up with either the opposite of what they campaigned on or simply hypocritical policies.”
“The Democratic yardstick that we will measure the Republican effort by will be the following: Does it create jobs? Does it strengthen America’s middle class? And does it reduce the deficit?” she added.
Republicans largely stayed above the fray, avoiding the kind the divisive partisan rhetoric that had been a signature of the 111th Congress, while trying to brush off Democratic complaints.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) pushed back against Democratic complaints about a lack of health care repeal amendments, saying: “This has been litigated in this last election. ... This is a bill that most Americans outside the Beltway — certainly most people inside the Beltway — know is something that is rejected by the majority of the people.”
But even Cantor bristled at one point during his first weekly press conference as Majority Leader. When asked about charges of hypocrisy by Democrats, Cantor icily responded, “When it comes to Leader Reid, [House Minority] Leader [Nancy] Pelosi and the statements they make, they clearly don’t understand what the public wants when it comes to health care.”
Anna Palmer contributed to this report.