Republicans ride voter unrest to control of House
By Calvin Woodward |AP
WASHINGTON – Emboldened by a commanding House majority and Senate gains, Republican leaders vowed Wednesday to deliver on their “golden opportunity” to roll back the size of government and President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.
“Change course we will,” said Ohio Rep. John Boehner, the speaker-in-waiting, describing Tuesday’s midterm elections as a mandate to shrink the government. That echoed the unrelenting demand of tea party activists whose energy and votes helped to fuel the largest turnover in the House in more than 70 years.
The capital awoke — if it ever slept — to a new political order. With their lopsided win, Republicans are ushering in a new era of divided government and dethroning Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a prime target of their campaign.
Repealing the health care law, with its mandates and subsidies to extend health insurance to nearly all Americans, has been a Republican rallying cry for months but Obama, with his veto power, and the Democrats still in control of the Senate stand in the way. Several Republicans indicated their challenge to the law won’t happen overnight when they take power.
“I think it is important for us to lay the groundwork before we begin to repeal this monstrosity,” Boehner said. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who survived a tea party challenge in Nevada, said “I’m ready for some tweaking” on the health care law but would fight its repeal.
In the heady election aftermath, some Republicans cautioned their own that they have work to do in building public trust when many Americans are fed up with both parties.