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.”

What We're Following See More »
TRUMP CONTINUES TO LAWYER UP
Kasowitz Out, John Dowd In
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."

Source:
ALSO INQUIRES ABOUT PARDON POWER
Trump Looking to Discredit Mueller
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.

Source:
INCLUDES NY PROBE INTO MANAFORT
Why Yes, Mueller Is Looking into Trump Businesses
8 hours ago
THE LATEST

In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."

Source:
FIRST TIME SINCE ITS CREATION
House Reauthorizes DHS
8 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The House voted Thursday to reauthorize the Department of Homeland Security. The bipartisan measure passed easily by a vote of 386-41, with nine Republicans and 32 Democrats voting in opposition. If the bill makes it through the Senate, it would be the first-ever reauthorization of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) since it was created in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks." Among the provisions it contains is a mandate that the Senate confirm the Secret Service director. It also boosts funding for the Urban Area Security Initiative by $195 million per year.

Source:
OPPONENTS SAY SHE SHOULD RESIGN
AFT’s Weingarten Likens Voucher Support to Segregation
8 hours ago
THE DETAILS

In remarks scheduled to be delivered today at the American Federation of Teachers' summer conference, President Randi Weingarten "likens U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to a climate-change denier" and "says the Trump administration's school choice plans are secretly intended to starve funding from public schools. She calls taxpayer-funded private school vouchers, tuition tax credits and the like 'only slightly more polite cousins of segregation.'" The pro-voucher Center for Education Reform said teachers should "consider inviting Weingarten’s resignation."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login