According to The Hill, Republican strategists are thinking about whether to take President Obama up on his offer of bi-partisanship. Some say, yes, let’s try. Others say, no, don’t.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has told colleagues and reporters that the GOP cannot simply be the “party of no,” but must work with Democrats to offer solutions to the nation’s problems.
Graham said that most of his colleagues agree, but he acknowledged “there are a few people who just want to say, ‘We’re not going to do anything this year.’ ”
Republican pollster Whit Ayres said Republican lawmakers could boost the GOP’s low ratings in generic ballot polls, which are below 50 percent, by working on legislative solutions. But he warned against supporting proposals that would expand government’s role significantly.
“They need to provide alternative solutions that are consistent with their principles, but that doesn’t mean crawling into bed with the liberals,” he said.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), among the most conservative members of the party, has urged colleagues not to abandon their principles for the sake of reform.
DeMint worries the White House will cherry-pick a few GOP centrists, rather than work with a broader group of Republicans.
“Right now their whole strategy just seems like they want to divide us,” DeMint said.
Senate Republicans are coalescing around what they believe should make up the basic parameters for healthcare reform: that it cannot add to the federal deficit, raise taxes or cut Medicare substantially.
House Republicans have also warmed to negotiating with Democrats, and like their Senate counterparts, have laid down strict ground rules.