As health care fight lingers, nation’s work must be done

If you didn’t like what was happening in Congress in 2013, get ready for more of the same in 2014. We see no reason to believe anything is going to change until one party seizes complete power in the House, Senate and the White House.

Raul Labrador’s visit to our Editorial Board on Thursday was Exhibit A.

Explaining that he and a like-minded segment of the House Republican Caucus are in it for the long run, he reiterated that he was not elected to rubber-stamp initiatives for the Senate and the White House. Fights over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 will continue.

Labrador made no apologies for his or any other Republican’s involvement in the government shutdown. He is not about to sit back and take what he perceives to be legislation that will inflict hardship on Americans.

That $24 billion cost of the shutdown? He estimates that the loss of productivity and added burden on consumers surrounding the health care law will quickly surpass that.

Though we appreciate efforts to reduce spending and government intrusion into our lives, we think the tactic to defund/delay the ACA was a bust. If Republicans had done nothing, the troubled rollout of the law would have been their best no-talking point. …

A bright spot: Labrador began our meeting discussing a bipartisan bill he has co-sponsored with Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va. It offers judges alternatives to mandatory sentencing guidelines that could reduce federal prison costs and allow the system to focus on more serious crimes.

We hope for similar progress on topics such as immigration and tax reform. Lawmakers should find points they agree on — such as approaches to guest worker programs and upping the ante for high-tech worker visas. Small victories and collaborative discussions in these areas could reveal pathways to bigger things.

-Idaho Statesman

Posted on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 10:38 am