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Video: Health care law repeal tops GOP to-do list

  1. Transcript of: Health care law repeal tops GOP to-do list

    LESTER HOLT, anchor: the midterm elections are over, but the battle to interpret that message that voters were sending has just begun. And no wonder; there's a lot at stake. And for the latest we turn NBC 's Mike Viqueira at the White House . Hi , Mike .

    MIKE VIQUEIRA reporting: Good evening, Lester . As Republicans prepare to take control of the House , they're taking a hard line on taxes and repealing the new health care law even as they disagree among each other on the best way to cut spending.

    Governor CHRIS CHRISTIE (Republican, New Jersey): We're going to let the chips fall where they may on...

    VIQUEIRA: Today, a rising GOP star warned even though voters sent Democrats packing on Tuesday, they won't have much patience for Republicans , either.

    Gov. CHRISTIE: It's put up or shut up time for our party. You know, we lost our way the last decade, David . We did. And the people expect us to do better. And if the Republican Party wants to come back, they're going to have to do what they said they were going to do.

    VIQUEIRA: At the top of that to-do list, health care . Republicans say they want to move quickly and try to scale back the new law, hoping the next election brings one of their own to the White House .

    Representative PAUL RYAN (Republican, Wisconsin): We're going to do everything we can to try and repeal and replace this thing. And ultimately I think 2013 is when it will be done the right way.

    VIQUEIRA: Another fight is brewing over tax cuts set to expire at year's end. President Obama has signaled he is open to a temporary extension for the wealthy, but insists that any permanent cuts be limited to the middle class .

    President BARACK OBAMA: I want to make my priorities clear from the start. One, middle-class families need permanent tax relief.

    VIQUEIRA: But today, Republicans insist all the cuts be made permanent.

    Representative ERIC CANTOR (Republican, Virginia): I am not for raising taxes in a recession, especially when it comes to job creators that we need so desperately to start creating jobs again.

    VIQUEIRA: And despite some high-profile tea party defeats, today one of their leaders took credit for Tuesday's results.

    DAVID GREGORY reporting: Do you think the tea party actually cost the Republican Party control of the Senate ?

    Representative JIM DeMINT (Republican, South Carolina): That is a very silly thing to say, David . The tea party are responsible for just about every Republican who was elected around the country.

    VIQUEIRA: But already there are differences between GOP leaders and their new tea party members over earmarks, special projects that many consider wasteful pork. Today, the top Senate Republican would not commit to a total ban.

    Senator MITCH McCONNELL (Republican, Kentucky): I'd be willing to consider it. The problem is it doesn't save any money. It's an argument about discretion.

    Rep. DeMINT: We're not going to have earmarks so it's really silly for some senior Republicans in the Senate to try to block it.

    VIQUEIRA: And, Lester , there's also some division on the other side of the aisle among House Democrats. Nancy Pelosi 's surprising decision to run for minority leader has pitted her top two lieutenants, Steny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn , against each other for the number two spot. They spent the weekend on the phone trying to line up votes. Lester :

    HOLT: Mike Viqueira for us at

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