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Rep. Pingree Calls for Name Change on “Repeal of the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act”

We can continue to have this debate about political rhetoric. On the level of pure politics, I find this to be whip-smart.

A good place to start a more civil dialog would be for my Republican colleagues in the House to change the name of the bill they have introduced to repeal health care reform. The bill, titled the “Repeal the Job Killing Health Care Law Act,” was set to come up for a vote this week, but in the wake of Gabby’s shooting, it has been postponed at least until next week.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m not suggesting that the name of that one piece of legislation somehow led to the horror of this weekend — but is it really necessary to put the word “killing” in the title of a major piece of legislation? I don’t think that word is in there by accident — my Republican friends know as well as anyone the power of words to send a message. But in this environment and at this moment in our nation’s history, it’s not the message we should be sending.

Rep. Chellie Pingree is absolutely right, and it would be worth it to back her up on this. I’m sure Republicans will try to laugh it off, but if everyone’s calling for civility and a change in how we conduct politics, it seems to me accusing the opponent of “killing” anything as a metaphor in legislation is a good place to start.

Let me be clear: I am not inclined to be politically correct generally. I abhor censorship of any kind. If Republicans want to put the word “killing” in their legislation, go ahead. But it’s reflective of the senseless belligerence that has taken over their party. And it’s completely within bounds for Pingree to criticize them over it, and seek a remedy. It also shows excellent political instincts.

More broadly, Republicans have whipped out the “job-killing” terminology and plan to apply it to a host of issues this year. It’s worth disabling it now.

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David Dayen

David Dayen