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GOP Retains House Despite Democrats' Medicare Attacks

From Kaiser Health News

The Republican Party retains control of the House of Representatives, despite the Democrats' Medicare attacks. As a result, House Republicans could continue to clash with President Obama and the Senate's Democratic majority.

The Wall Street Journal: GOP Retains House Control
Republicans retained control of the House Tuesday night, confronting President Barack Obama with a continuing partisan obstacle to his second-term agenda (Hook, Nov. 7).

The New York Times: Republicans Stand Firm in Controlling the House
Retirements by a large number of Democratic members, and a message on Medicare that more or less fizzled, were additional impediments. Blue Dog Democrats, a group of moderates whose numbers have been dwindling, were particularly endangered as they struggled to defend districts they had long held. . . . There appeared to be no single issue that Democrats could turn to their advantage, like the health care debate that so dominated the 2010 Congressional elections and propelled Republicans back into the majority (Steinhauer, Nov. 7).

The Associated Press: Republicans Renew House Control For Two More Years
Shortly after Obama's reelection was clear, Boehner - reelected without opposition - said voters had conveyed a desire for compromise. That was a departure from the House GOP's general tone over the past two years . . . Even so, the prospects of continued gridlock over major issues remained strong, both because of the GOP's strong conservative bent and because Boehner has sometimes faced challenges shepherding his rank-and-file members to endorse deals he's wanted to strike. Earlier in the evening, he seemed more combative (Fram, Nov. 7).

In the meantime, a key Democrat in health care - chairman of the Ways and Means health subcommittee - was defeated by another Democrat.

Reuters: California's Longest-Serving Congressman Ousted After 40 Years
Rep. Pete Stark, the cantankerous dean of California's congressional delegation, appeared to lose his bid for a 21st straight term after being swept aside by a fellow Democrat 50 years his junior. But he was perhaps best known for his relentless push for nationalized health care, and he played a minor role in writing the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (Shih, Nov. 7).

Politico: Pete Stark Defeated After 40 Years in Congress
The 20-term Democrat lost to fellow Democrat Eric Swalwell 53.1 percent to 46.9 percent, with 100 percent of the vote calculated in the 15th district in California, according to the Associated Press. Stark built a reputation as a hard-charging advocate for progressive health reform in Washington, but in recent years was bogged down by a record of gaffes and personal insults to his colleagues. Not even the endorsements of President Barack Obama and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi could overcome Swalwell's message to San Francisco Bay voters: that the 80-year-old Stark has been in Washington way too long (Haberkorn, Nov. 7).

Finally, a Georgia Democrat who stood against the health law won reelection and a New York Democrat, who won last year by opposing Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare plan, lost.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Democrat Barrow Holds Off Challenge; Other Georgia Incumbents Win Easily
U.S. Rep. John Barrow, the last white Democrat in the House from the Deep South, won reelection Tuesday in one of the more closely watched congressional elections in the nation. . . . Barrow highlighted how he has often bucked his own party, underscoring his vote against the federal health care legislation and the fact that he often voted with Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Redmon, Nov. 6).

The Hill: Rep. Hochul Falls in New York
Rep. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.)] had taken advantage of the controversial Medicare overhaul that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the GOP vice presidential nominee this year, had included in the House budget. Her victory and campaign had energized Democrats, and fed some speculation that Ryan's inclusion on the ticket this year could make Medicare a central issue of the presidential campaign (Becker, Nov. 7).

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