With all of the branches of government under Republican majority control, the state of the legislature will be largely conservative. With this shift of balance comes right-wing policies, with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and budget work topping priority lists of the GOP.
At the top of the Republican Party to-do list is Congress’s intention to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama in March 2010.
The Affordable Care Act currently provides healthcare for some 20 million Americans, and there is concern that repealing such a deeply entrenched healthcare plan could leave millions of Americans with pre-existing medical conditions without essential coverage.
Democrats have been quick to denounce the GOP Congress’s plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“I just would like to speak individually to women across America: this is about respect for you, for your judgment about your personal decisions in terms of your reproductive needs, the size and timing of your family or the rest, not to be determined by the insurance company or by the Republican ideological right-wing caucus in the House of Representatives,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), “so this is a very important occasion where we’re pointing out very specifically what repeal of the [Affordable Care Act] will mean to women.”
At the core of the desire to slash the Affordable Care Act is the GOP’s adamance against government run welfare programs. This can be seen in Congress’s plan to defund Planned Parenthood, an organization which provides everything from breast cancer screening to birth control, most often used by poor women.
According to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) during a news conference on January 5th, “…The process for dismantling the Affordable Care Act will include stripping all federal funding for Planned Parenthood.”
In reaction to Ryan’s proposal, Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action fund, said, “It’s likely no accident that this attack was launched the day after Vice President Elect Mike Pence, a long time opponent of Planned Parenthood, held a closed door meeting with Speaker Ryan and the Republican leadership.”
In their strategy for passing legislation dealing with altering financial reform, Senate Republicans are favoring a procedure known as “budget reconciliation”, in which measures can be passed with a simple 51 vote majority rather than 60 votes without filibuster. The GOP will use this strategy to undo much of Obama’s 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
As part of undoing the financial overhaul law, some GOP leaders have begun planning strategies for effectively dismantling the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – whether through giving Congress control over its budget or finding cause to replace the CFPB Director Richard Cordray, with a weaker Board of Directors.
This financial plan comes a short time after the Wells Fargo scandal, which revealed that its employees had secretly created millions of unauthorized fake credit card and bank accounts, without the knowledge of their customers, since 2011. The phony accounts earned the bank unwarranted fees and allowed Wells Fargo employees to boost their sales figures and make more money.
There has been swift reaction on the part of the Democrats to the GOP’s plan to kill the Dodd Frank Act. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he has votes to stop President Elect Donald Trump from repealing the Dodd Frank Act and “…the rules we put in place to limit Wall Street.”
Schumer also predicted that the Senate’s Democratic minority would get help from Republicans in any such fight.
“We have 60 votes to block him,” Schumer stated in an interview for NBC’s Meet the Press.