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TheChat: Sam Graves takes another shot at Obamacare

Good morning.

▪ “Obamacare’s SHOPs have been fraught with errors and high costs from the very beginning.” — Missouri Congressman Sam Graves, chair of the House Small Business Committee, on the release of a new government report that showed that enrollment for the state-operated Small Business Health Options Program, or SHOP, was short of expectations.

In a news release, Graves pointed out that health insurance costs are increasing for nearly two-thirds of small businesses that provide health insurance to their employees, and the majority of small business owners paid more per employee for health insurance in 2013 than in 2012.

▪ “The president’s attempt to grant amnesty through executive order will be the first battleground where this new majority can stand up to the president and block his irresponsible and unconstitutional actions.” — Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, a Republican, on the news that President Barack Obama is gearing up to announce an amnesty plan for illegal immigrants in the days ahead.

Roberts is right. Immigration is shaping up as the initial showdown issue between the new GOP Senate majority and the president. What’s missing here in the wake of the election is something different from the typical sharp partisan rhetoric that we’ve been hearing for months. Where’s the talk about trying to work something out on immigration?

▪ “The court is stealing political power from the nearly three million people who reside in Kansas.” — Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp criticizing the U.S. Supreme Court for allowing same-sex marriage in the state.

Huelskamp, a conservative, spoke for many Republicans when he said the ruling represented a “very sad day.” He charged that “elitist, unelected judges” were imposing their morality on the rest of the country.

▪ “The president has not spent the time necessary even while he’s been in office the last six years, much less before, developing, nurturing relationships and understanding people’s thinking. And that is a huge impediment to the president’s ability to do a deal, whereas I think Joe Biden has been schooled in that way.” — former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor speaking about President Obama and Vice President Biden.

Cantor, who is big buddies with Biden, strangely enough, is hardly the first person to sound an alarm over Obama’s inability to do the schmooze thing to grease the skids in Washington for his legislative agenda.

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