Obamacare repeal will cost Republicans the House, Schumer says

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Senator Charles Schumer. (Via the Senator's flickr stream.)
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On Sunday morning, politicians from both parties tried to navigate the tricky political aftermath of last week's landmark Supreme Court ruling on President Obama's signature health care law.

Democrats continued to argue that the individual mandate isn't actually a tax, as declared by Chief Justice John Roberts, but that either way health care isn't a losing issue for Democrats.

"I think if Republicans make as their number one issue the repeal of health care they are certainly going to lose the election in the House, in the Senate, and the presidency," Senator Chuck Schumer said on "Face the Nation."

"Bottom line is most Americans are not for repeal. If you look at all the polls, a little more than a third are for repeal, the rest are either for keeping it or changing it but not repealing it. And some of those who are for changing it want to make it tougher."

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On "Meet the Press," the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, argued Democrats didn't lose the majority in 2010 because of the law.

"Let me say this: I don't buy the argument you make that we lost the election because of health care," she said. "We lost the election because of 9 and a half percent unemployment."

Which is not to say Democrats are eager to run on the issue. Pelosi's answer was in response to a question about whether the party would campaign on the issue, and Schumer, after making his poll argument, quickly pivoted to Romney's ties to the bill.

"Mitt Romney's in a total pickle here," Schumer said. "He prescribed this. This was his bill. Speaker Boehner's saying it's a tax increase. They have some ads saying it's a tax increase. So they are going to say that Mitt Romney would have the biggest tax increase in Massachusetts? Forget about it."

Despite having months to brace for that argument, Republicans, it seemed, were still figuring out exactly how to deal with that question.

"I think Governor Romney will have to speak for himself on what was done in Massachusetts," said House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell when asked whether Romney's plan was a tax too.

(Most of the party's representatives on Sunday tried to argue Romney was simply embracing the idea of states as "laboratories of democracy," while reiterating he had always opposed a national mandate.)

McConnell said the court's ruling would allow the Senate to pursue repeal of the law with even a 51-seat majority, through reconciliation, the same controversial tactic that helped Democrats pass the bill with less than the 60 votes needed to end a filibuster.

Democrats didn't seem particularly eager to run against that specter of repeal, arguing that repeal was a pipe dream now.

Pelosi said repeal was "unrealistic." Schumer said Romney, in promising repeal on Day One, was "just making the wildest statements here that don't have basis in fact."

But at least one Democrat was willing to raise the prospect.

Representative Henry Waxman of California, one of the key committee chairs who helped draft and shepherd the law, said the threat was real.

"I think the American people have to understand that. If they vote for Romney and they vote for the Republicans to have control of the House and the Senate, there's a good chance the health care bill will be wiped out, and all of these benefits will be wiped out," Waxman said on C-SPAN's "Newsmakers" show.

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