Thursday, January 13, 2011

GOP to resume toned down health-care repeal effort

House Republican leaders said Thursday that they will begin their effort to repeal the new health-care law next week, a return to normal legislative business after the shootings in Arizona suspended activity on Capitol Hill.

But no one quite knows what normal will look like, following a wrenching week in which members confronted concerns about their own safety and whether their heated rhetoric played any role in last Saturday's shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and 18 others.

As Giffords recovers in a Tucson hospital, many of her colleagues in Washington said they plan to change the tone in the House, a body that has served as the epicenter of caustic political debate for the past 20 years.

"It doesn't mean the issues go away, it doesn't mean that the positions on those issues change, but yes, this is going to affect everybody," said Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.).

House Republicans had envisioned repealing the health-care law as a triumphant moment - a chance to vote down legislation that helped inspire the tea party movement.

Instead the effort has become a test of whether Republican leaders can regain the momentum of their big November midterm election wins and fulfill a campaign promise without the rancor that has marked almost every other health-care debate.
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