WASHINGTON — Simply attempting to defund parts or repeal the most onerous parts of the health care law won’t be enough for the new Republican-led Congress, Rep. Michele Bachmann told MinnPost in a Tuesday interview.
“Quite frankly, knowing the parameters we have, success will be passing the full-scale repeal of Obamacare through the House,” Bachmann said.
“I’m serious about it, and not just a perfunctory thing, but I think we need to demonstrate to the public that we mean business.”
Bachmann returns to the 112th session in a unique position, after a brief campaign for the No. 4 slot in the House Republican leadership — a bid she withdrew after it became clear that Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling had a majority of caucus support while Bachmann counted just five public supporters.
House GOP leaders lined up en masse behind Hensarling, partly because they wanted him there and partly because they didn’t want Bachmann.
But while her official position may remain that of a simple back-bencher, her influence is considerable. Bachmann still heads the House Tea Party Caucus that she founded, in a party conference now dominated by people who claim the Tea Party mantle. She’s still able to drive the debate through frequent visits on cable news and conservative talk radio. And she was easily the most successful Republican fundraiser in the House over the recently concluded election cycle.
Bachmann says there are no hard feelings toward party leaders who backed Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling over her — “I’m a big girl,” she said with a smile.
“I’m not seeing myself in opposition to leadership, I’m not seeing myself as hostile to leadership,” she said.
Yet that doesn’t mean she’s planning to hold with party leaders if they stray from what she calls bedrock principles — like the 2008 Wall Street bailout that she vehemently opposed as GOP leaders worked to whip up votes in favor of the plan.
“I haven’t been fearful to take my leadership and my president on in the first four years, and I won’t be fearful to take them on again.”
Update: Michael Steel, spokeman for likely House Speaker John Boehner, e-mails what sounds like an agreement.
“We made a Pledge to America that includes repealing and replacing the job-killing ObamaCare law. That’s what we’ll fight for.”