Could a Democratic Concession on the Medical-Device Tax Let Republicans Save Face?

Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash.
National Journal
Stacy Kaper
Add to Briefcase
Stacy Kaper
Oct. 2, 2013, 10:05 a.m.

Rep. Jim Mc­Der­mott, D-Wash., said Demo­crats are strug­gling to find a way to let Re­pub­lic­ans save face and end the gov­ern­ment shut­down, and he sug­ges­ted that a solu­tion could be a con­ces­sion on the med­ic­al-device tax, which the Re­pub­lic­ans want to re­peal.

Mc­Der­mott, the rank­ing mem­ber on the Ways and Means Com­mit­tee Health Sub­com­mit­tee, told Na­tion­al Journ­al in an in­ter­view Wed­nes­day that he is con­cerned that Re­pub­lic­ans are con­tent to con­tin­ue the shut­down un­til the debt ceil­ing hits its lim­it in mid-Oc­to­ber and drives up the eco­nom­ic stakes.

“I call it go­ing on Cruz con­trol,” Mc­Der­mott said, re­fer­ring to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who is seen as fo­ment­ing shut­down fur­or. “He’s got us go­ing in a way that we are go­ing to go spin­ning down to the debt lim­it, and at that point I don’t know what hap­pens,” Mc­Der­mott said.

“My feel­ing is that we may go in­to all of that for a couple of days un­til the bond mar­kets start — and then some folks who are in the moneyed class in this coun­try say, ‘What in the hell is go­ing on? Stop this.’ “

Mc­Der­mott, a former psy­chi­at­rist, said that in con­ver­sa­tions in the House gym he has tried to un­der­stand the way his con­ser­vat­ive col­leagues see the en­dgame.

“They think that some­how it is go­ing to work out in two weeks when they get to the debt lim­it, then they’ll fi­nally have enough pres­sure, that they can get the pres­id­ent to cave,” he said.

Demo­crats are quick to pooh-pooh this strategy but the pro­spect is clearly dis­con­cert­ing.

Mc­Der­mott said that in polit­ics, when your op­pon­ent has a los­ing po­s­i­tion, the trick is to find a way to let him save face — which is something con­found­ing Demo­crats now.

“The old rule in the Chica­go play­ground was, when you’ve got your foot on some­body’s neck, don’t press, be­cause you might be on the ground some­time and you don’t want him to press on you.”

Mc­Der­mott said the game is the same on Cap­it­ol Hill. “What we are strug­gling with now is find­ing a face-sav­ing way of let­ting these guys get out of an im­possible situ­ation,” he said laugh­ing. “How do I let you lose so you don’t look like a fool?”

Mc­Der­mott sug­ges­ted a con­ces­sion on the med­ic­al-device tax used to off­set some of the cost of the Af­ford­able Care Act could be one op­tion to pur­sue.

“Does the tax on devices get rid of that? Is that the face-saver?” he pos­ited. “It could. It blows a $40-bil­lion hole in the fund­ing of the Af­ford­able Care Act, so I mean you could look at that a lot of dif­fer­ent ways. You could say, ‘Well, all right, that was the Sen­ate’s idea. House mem­bers, Demo­crats, nev­er thought it was a good idea in the first place.’ But there are a lot of dif­fer­ent ways to talk about that, so maybe that is the face-saver.”

MOST READ
What We're Following See More »
TWO MONTHS AFTER REFUSING AT CONVENTION
Cruz to Back Trump
1 days ago
THE LATEST
WHO TO BELIEVE?
Two Polls for Clinton, One for Trump
1 days ago
THE LATEST

With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:

  • An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clin­ton lead­ing Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary John­son at 7%.
  • A Mc­Clatchy-Mar­ist poll gave Clin­ton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way bal­lot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
  • Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
NO SURPRISE
Trump Eschewing Briefing Materials in Debate Prep
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shun­ning tra­di­tion­al de­bate pre­par­a­tions, but has been watch­ing video of…Clin­ton’s best and worst de­bate mo­ments, look­ing for her vul­ner­ab­il­it­ies.” Trump “has paid only curs­ory at­ten­tion to brief­ing ma­ter­i­als. He has re­fused to use lecterns in mock de­bate ses­sions des­pite the ur­ging of his ad­visers. He prefers spit­balling ideas with his team rather than hon­ing them in­to crisp, two-minute an­swers.”

Source:
TRUMP NO HABLA ESPANOL
Trump Makes No Outreach to Spanish Speakers
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."

Source:
$1.16 MILLION
Clintons Buy the House Next Door in Chappaqua
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."

Source:
×