Boehner warns ‘no spiking of the ball’ on healthcare ruling


WASHINGTON -- As Congress awaits the Supreme Court ruling on President Obama’s healthcare legislation, House Speaker John A. Boehner had a stern warning for rank-and-file Republicans he has struggled to keep on message.

“There will be no spiking of the ball,” Boehner wrote in a memo to GOP lawmakers. Even though Republicans have opposed the law, and tried to repeal it, there will be no celebrations if the court strikes down the law or parts of it.

Republicans have worked to keep their troops focused on what GOP leaders see is their best talking point heading toward the November election: jobs and the economy.


“Republicans are focused on the economy,” Boehner went on in the memo circulated late last week. “We will not celebrate at a time when millions of our fellow Americans remain out of work, the national debt has exceeded the size of our nation’s economy, health costs continue to rise, and small businesses are struggling to hire.”

The message from Boehner also offered another indication of the difficulties of the GOP’s “repeal and replace” strategy on the new healthcare law. While Republicans voted to repeal the law in one of their first acts since taking the majority in the House -- and are planning do so again this month if the court keeps the law, or parts of it, in place -- they have yet to advance legislation to replace the Democratic-led attempt at reform.

“The House will act in the coming weeks on legislation to repeal any part of ObamaCare that is left standing by the Supreme Court,” Boehner said in the memo.

In fact, Republicans may find themselves in a difficult spot if the court keeps popular provisions of the law in place -- for example, those that allow young people to remain on their parents’ insurance policies until they are 26 years old or another that prevents insurance companies from denying coverage to customers with preexisting medical conditions.

But the speaker also said the repeal votes also serve the GOP’s greater goal: “Such action is critical for jobs and our economy and for the healthcare of millions of American families.”

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