Debate over health care repeal: five gauges of House civility

In the wake of the Tucson shootings, Congress was, briefly, awash in talk of the need for a more civil, less caustic tone in politics. This week’s vote to repeal health-care reform, President Obama’s signature domestic achievement, provided a formidable test – and produced mixed results. Here are five ways to break it down.

1. Fewer references to ‘job killing’

Kevin Lamarque
Speaker of House Boehner signs book of condolences and book of well wishes for victims of Tucson, Ariz. shooting before attending prayer service for them in the Capitol in Washington.

House Republican leaders briefly sidelined their mantra of a “job killing” health-care reform. Instead, Speaker John Boehner’s early remarks after the shooting substituted “job crushing” or “job destroying.” GOP leaders play down the linguistic shift: “We’ve often used those terms interchangeably,” says Boehner spokesman Michael Steel. But by midweek, “killing” was back in the lexicon of at least several Republicans. Democrats also reprised the term in floor debate, if only to chide Republicans for using it in the first place. The title of the Republicans’ bill remains “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act.”

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