The debate is rolling on as House Republicans push to repeal the Health Care Reform Act. The vote itself is ultimately an act of political theater — the Senate is unlikely to repeal and the president in the end would not sign the bill even if they did. With the realization that repeal is becoming more and more unpopular, and that Republicans have no plan to offer in its place, it’s more interesting to watch who ends up on each side of the debate, especially when it comes to Congresspeople in tough districts.
The Fix offers this list of the top five to watch:
* Rep. Tim Holden (D-Pa.): Holden escaped a big-time challenge in 2010 after voting against the health care bill. But his district is tough, and a Republican-controlled round of redistricting could make it even tougher. Only a few of the 13 anti-health care bill Democrats haven’t made it clear where they stand on repeal, and he’s one of them.
* Rep. Ben Chandler (D-Ky.): Chandler also voted against the bill originally, surviving by the narrowest of margins in 2010. And he figures to be targeted again in 2012. Republicans have already jumped on his vote for Nancy Pelosi for speaker, and a vote against repeal could throw fuel on the fire. Chandler said during his campaign that he was against full repeal of the health care bill, citing the more popular parts of it.
* Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.): McIntyre voted against the bill and said he supported repeal after the bill passed in March. He was one of four Democrats who voted to move forward with a vote on repeal two weeks ago. He has not said recently that he will support repeal, but he will be a top GOP target in 2012. If he votes against repeal, it would be a big surprise — and a big win for Democrats.
* Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.): Duffy did not push for a repeal of the health care law in his 2010 campaign, and unlike a lot of Republicans, he’s actually pointed to some of the good things contained in the law (coverage for pre-existing conditions, etc.). His district could be friendlier after Republicans redraw the map, but it went 56 percent for President Obama in 2008, and he doesn’t have an easy vote here. He’s also getting some pressure from the local press.
* Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.): Hanna, like Duffy, is a freshman from a tough district who has balked at the idea of a full repeal. Hanna has not said how he will vote, and he stresses some of the finer points of the bill that he would like to keep. With both he and Duffy, though, you’ve got to remember: a vote against repeal would be the equivalent of begging for a tea party primary challenger. A ‘no’ vote from either would be a true shocker.
The House is expected to vote on the repeal later tonight.