Democrats have joined the growing criticism of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law.
The situation was laid bare this week as top Senate Democrats, feeling the post-election turn of events, could hinder upcoming issues over taxes, energy and immigration.
Charles (Chuck) Schumer, the No. 3 Senate Democrat from New York gave a stirring speech on Tuesday to outline his party’s losses in the midterm elections earlier this month. It was highlighted with the ongoing problems with the Obamacare law instituted in 2010 during the president’s second year in office.
His warning of choppy political waters ahead was confirmed later that day when the White House took a step out of the ordinary by publicly pledging to veto a deal on tax breaks initiated by Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid who has been trying to make “compromises” with Republicans in the House of Representatives.
The word “compromise” is a term used loosely when it comes to the usually intransigent Reid. According to Ross Baker, political scientist at Rutgers University, “There is clearly a lot of unhappiness and a lot of mistrust that exists between the president and his congressional party.”
One thing is certain, Democrats will lose their majority in the Senate at the beginning of the year after heavy losses in the Nov. 4 elections. Republicans also made sizable gains in their House majority.
Add President Obama’s increasingly low approval ratings, that have been seen as a major cause for the Democrat’s defeat, and one can see many party loyalists wavering on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to carry oil from Canada’s oil sands to be processed on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
It is a given that Republicans, bolstered by their sizable gains, will attempt to thwart the executive action on immigration. Obama has announced he will grant temporary relief from deportation for millions of immigrants who are living in the United States without the proper papers.
Sen. Schumer joins a host of Democratic senators who have been critical of Obama’s executive action that bypassed Congress. The Republicans only need six or seven Democrats to block Obama’s action, forcing a veto. Schumer sees the writing on the wall considering Obama’s waning influence on his Senate power base.
Schumer believes his party lost due to the White House’s “cascade of issues,” starting with the healthcare reform push in 2009, at a time when Americans were more preoccupied with the recession. The votes appear to be in hand for the victorious Republicans, especially with Democrats who will continue in office within red states.
The New York Senator laid out a list of White House political errors that include the roll out of insurance marketplaces, fixing wait lists for veterans’ hospitals, dealing with the first case of Ebola in the United States, and even security at the White House itself.
For many Democrats, hitching their political careers to a lame duck president who faces even worse polling numbers is political suicide and the Republicans are keenly aware of that situation.
A bitter former White House speechwriter said on Twitter, “Funny, I don’t remember Chuck Schumer giving that advice when he was privately and publicly championing the Affordable Care Act in 2010. So what exactly does Chuck Schumer believe was the error? Does he believe that the goal of winning office is winning office?” said Jon Favreau.
His comments were followed by top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi who said, “We come here to do a job, not keep a job.” There appears to be a mutiny growing in the Democratic ranks and Obama is their target.