What the GOP has to do to enforce change

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Nov 3, 2010

What the GOP has to do to enforce change

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Nov 3, 2010


Bob Moon: Republicans are claiming they’ve won a mandate to repeal President Obama’s health care overhaul. They’re also promising to take a close look at the new financial reform law the president pushed through Congress.

But in those cases, too, GOP leaders have shied away from specifics. Could they overturn either law?

We asked Marketplace’s Nancy Marshall Genzer to take a look.

Nancy Marshall Genzer: Presumptive House Speaker, John Boehner, says he’ll start to roll back what he calls the health care monstrosity. But repealing that law is almost impossible.

The GOP only won control of the House. Any House bill would hit the Senate’s buzzsaw. And of course, President Obama has veto power. It’s the same deal for financial reform. But, a GOP-controlled House could starve federal agencies that implement new laws.

Teddy Downey is a policy analyst at MF Global.

Teddy Downey: You try to block the funding process and the legislative process so that everything grinds to a halt.

Consider the Securities and Exchange Commission. It was given lots of new responsibilities. Jennifer Taub teaches business law at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Jennifer Taub: They were given these obligations and powers with the understanding that they would have their budget almost doubled.

To do things like hire the best and brightest to oversee trading of complicated financial instruments like derivatives. Republicans can also delay things. By holding lots of oversight hearings. Boehner hinted at that kind of strategy earlier today.

John Boehner: I think one of the things Congress has not done a very good job of over the last 15 years is real oversight of the executive branch, which is a constitutional responsibility of the Congress.

The Senate is responsible for confirming the heads of new bureaus and offices established by the health care and financial overhauls. Again, Republicans don’t control the Senate, but they could hold up those confirmation votes. Taub says that’s the reverse of what’s needed. Think of the new laws as children, she says.

Taub: The legislation itself, the code, is like the DNA and we need a combination of both nature and nurture for it to thrive.

But that may be difficult in the current political environment, especially since Republicans are looking ahead to the 2012 elections. When they could take over Congress and the White House, and have the ability to finally repeal the health care and financial overhaul laws.

In Washington, I’m Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

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