When he's in Washington, D.C., Dave Reichert wants to repeal health care reform. Back in Washington state, the Republican Congressman says that calls for repeal are mere political posturing.
"The more radical approach is let's repeal this bill but I'm just gonna say that that's more of a political move, a political argument, than a substantial argument that says, you know, let's try to make this bill better," he told Seattle-based KIRO radio in March.
Last Thursday House Republican leaders introduced a bill to repeal the sweeping healthcare law adopted in late March, and Reichert helped lead the effort. The new measure would repeal the current Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 and replace it with the alternative the minority party offered to the original health care legislation last November, the Common Sense Health Care Reform and Affordability Act.
How does he square cosponsoring the new legislation with his comments in March? He doesn't -- calls to both his congressional and campaign offices were not returned.
Chances are slim that Republicans can get their measure to the floor, given the Democratic majorities in the chamber, but it could make a useful campaign tool for some party members.
Even Reichert admits the odds are long. "If you want to approach this in a common sense way, you know that the president has veto power, so the likelihood of this bill being repealed in my opinion is highly unlikely," he told KIRO radio in the same interview. "In my opinion we've got to work with those moderate Democrats over there..."
It's not the first time he has been accused of a flip-flop.
Reichert recently signed a letter urging the chair of the Federal Communications Commission not to proceed with plans to protect net neutrality, reversing the position he took in his 2006 reelection campaign when he professed strong support for net neutrality.
And in a meeting with local Republican politicos last month, Reichert confided that to hold onto his "50/50" district, he sometimes has to vote against his conscience, especially on environmental issues. "Now, first of all, are there any reporters in the room?" he said in the recently leaked audio. "Does anybody recognize... are there any people in here that you recognize as strangers? So we know that all of us in here are family, right?" Reichert went on to explain there are certain "strategies" he must employ to keep his swing district.
Reichert was narrowly re-elected in 2008 and could face a close race again this year.
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