Republican congressmen from Mississippi probably are wishing for the impossible when they say they want President Barack Obama to use his State of the Union speech on Tuesday to acknowledge the Affordable Care Act is a failure and should be abandoned.

First District Rep. Alan Nunnelee noted Obama already modified specific provisions of the law through waivers and executive orders.

“By his actions, he’s shown that implementing Obamacare is a train wreck,” Nunnelee said. “I would hope that the president would come to Congress and say, ‘Look we a made mistake with Obamacare. Let’s get it off the books and start over again.’ ”

The president has acknowledged the problems with the rollout of the health care law, including the massive technical glitches that affected the federal HealthCare.gov online insurance exchange during its first months. But he remains committed to the health care law’s continued implementation.

“As challenging as this may seem sometimes, as frustrating as HealthCare.gov may be sometimes, we are going to get this done,” he said in November. “We’re on the right side of history.”

In his speech Tuesday, he is expected to talk about raising the minimum wage, addressing income inequality in the country, reforming the immigration system and other issues.

Obama has promised to veto any legislation that would defund or delay the health care law.

Nunnelee said Obama’s “actions have acknowledged that all the delays, the waivers, the executive orders show it’s not ready for prime time.”

Republicans have tried more than 40 times to repeal or modify the 2010 health care law.

“The president should abandon his Affordable Care Act and invite congressional Republican leaders to propose alternatives,” Republican Sen. Thad Cochran said in a statement.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, the Mississippi delegation’s lone Democrat, said he expects Obama to use his State of the Union speech to tout the law, which Thompson said will benefit many of his constituents in the 2nd Congressional District.

“It’s being implemented, not as fast as some would want, but nonetheless, it’s the law of the land,” Thompson said.

Thompson, the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, said he wants Obama’s speech to detail plans for fighting the war on terrorism and getting U.S. soldiers out of Afghanistan.

“We’ve spent over $1 trillion and we’ve lost over 6,000 people,” Thompson said.

He also said it’s important for Obama to explain how the country can work with allies to continue fighting terrorism, “not as the primary policeman, but (by) forming a partnership with them so that we share the costs.”

Nunnelee also said Obama should promote policies to boost the economy, which he said has been “relatively stagnant” for the last five years.

Republican Sen. Roger Wicker agreed, saying the administration should lessen burdens on businesses.

“The president has been in office for more than five years, yet the economy has failed to make a lasting rebound,” Wicker said in a statement. “Many have been forced to take part-time work or have left the labor force completely. Families are dealing with the backlash of canceled insurance policies, higher premiums, and fewer choices because of his costly health care law. It is increasingly more difficult for small businesses to pay for government mandates and keep Americans at work. The president needs to realize that government intrusion is hurting job creation.”

Third District Rep. Gregg Harper said the Republican-controlled House has proposed several measures to improve the economy.

“If the president is serious about boosting jobs and strengthening our economy, I urge him to call on his Democratic colleagues in the Senate to act on the number of pro-growth bills the House has already sent to them,” he said in a statement.

Thompson said he’s certain Obama will try to set a bipartisan tone in his speech, even if many lawmakers in the chamber aren’t receptive.

“Whether it matters with the majority in that room — it will resonate with the majority of the people in America,’’ Thompson said. “That’s what’s more important.’’

Republicans say a bipartisan tone won’t hide Obama’s practice of using executive orders to bypass Congress.

Obama has a “serious credibility issue” with Americans and should work to regain their trust, said 4th District Rep. Steven Palazzo.

“I don’t think they’re interested in hearing the president talk about taking up his pen and phone to push policies through executive order,” Palazzo said in a statement. “Until and unless he is able to build back lost trust … many of his proposals will fall on deaf ears.”

Obama and Democrats say the executive orders are necessary as a response to Republican obstructionism in Congress.

“I want to work with Congress whenever and wherever I can, but the one thing I’m emphasizing to all my Cabinet members is we’re not going to wait,” Obama told mayors at the White House Thursday.

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Cochran: Restrict Obama bailouts BY thadforms

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran is cosponsoring a Republican-backed bill that would require congressional approval to bail out a health insurance company that loses money by participating in the Affordable Care Act.

The Obamacare Taxpayer Bailout Prevention Act (S.1726) would repeal a provision in the Affordable Care Act that allows for taxpayer-funded bailouts of health insurance companies at the administration’s discretion.

“The health insurance industry may find itself in a bind because of the Affordable Care Act. But the Obama administration should not have a free hand to give them taxpayer-funded bailouts,” Cochran said in a news release.

Some insurance companies are already preparing cases for federal bailouts based on negative projections for their risk pools, according to Cochran’s news release.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced the measure that has, in addition to Cochran, 12 Republican co-sponsors. The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

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Mississippi Republican Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker are co-sponsors of a bill that would require most states to recognize permits other states issue that allow people to carry concealed firearms.

A similar GOP-led effort died in the Senate in 2013. Wicker and Cochran supported the bill last year.

While extending concealed carry privileges, the legislation recognizes state’s rights and does not provide for a national concealed carry permit.

“Second amendment rights shouldn’t stop at the state line,” Cochran said in a news release Tuesday. “It makes sense to allow law-abiding gun owners to take their concealed permit privileges with them to states that also allow conceal carry permits.”

The bill’s lead author is Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. The bill has been sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“This legislation would ensure this right is not limited to the state where the concealed carry permit was issued,” Wicker said. “It responsibly grants legal gun owners the same freedom in states with concealed carry laws.”

Opponents have argued the plan would let people from states with loose requirements for the permits bring weapons into states with tougher standards.

Gun rights advocates argue people with such permits should be able to carry concealed weapons elsewhere.

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How Thad is fighting Obamacare for Mississippi BY thadforms

The stated goal of Obamacare was to expand health insurance coverage, yet it has forced millions of people to be kicked off of coverage they liked.

Thad spoke out against Obamacare before it was passed and has continued to do so since. He has voted more than 100 times to oppose, repeal, and defund Obamacare.

Thad has also written legislation that would repeal the law if fewer people have insurance now than before Obamacare became law.

One day after Thad announced this legislation, President Obama was forced to break another of Obamacare’s key promises without any Congressional approval as a last ditch effort to bolster his enrollment numbers.

Last week, the GOP asked Thad to deliver its weekly address to highlight his bill’s creative strategy to expose Obamacare’s flaws and to fully repeal it.

Thad believes we need to start over completely and craft common sense legislation that works for all Americans, reduces health care costs, and doesn’t hurt our economy or individual freedom.

BOBBY HARRISON: Cochran holds important place in Mississippi’s history BY thadforms

On my nearly stone-age era telephone/answering machine at my desk in the state Capitol is a message left by U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran.

It has survived since 2009. I had called his spokesman earlier that particular day to get a comment on a Medicaid-related issue. I really expected his spokesman to get a comment and relay it back to me either by email or by phone.

That is often how it works in this modern era. When I left fairly late that evening, I still had not heard from Cochran or his spokesman. Since Washington, D.C., is an hour ahead of us, I assumed there would be no statement coming from Cochran. But when I returned the next morning, there was a message left on my answering machine from the previous night – not from a spokesman, but from Cochran.

“Hello, Bobby, this is Thad Cochran,” the message said before he went on to bemoan the intense partisanship in the nation’s Capitol.

I have been careful to preserve that message for a couple of reasons, but mainly not because of what was said, but just because it was from Cochran.

Regardless of what a person might think of his politics, by any measure, Cochran is a historic figure in Mississippi politics. He is the first Republican elected statewide since the 1800s and he is one of five U.S. senators from Mississippi in my lifetime, which is getting fairly lengthy. I also have a message saved from William Winter because I think he also is a significant figure in Mississippi history — not only because of what he did as governor, but also because of the impact he has made after leaving the Governor’s Mansion.

There are other politicians whose message I would have saved, but they never left one. I do have a message preserved from a legislator, who shall remain nameless, who was extremely upset at me when he called. I preserve that message for different reasons. It provides some comical relief.

Last week, Cochran, who turned 76 on Saturday, announced he would seek a seventh term in the Senate. For months, the state’s media members have been speculating on whether Cochran would run again. When he ran in 2008, he left impressions with some that he would not seek the office again.

Plus, he is being challenged by state Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Ellisville. Now Cochran, a political icon, might figuratively wipe the floor with McDaniel. It is just too early to say. But McDaniel does have the national support from groups that have been successful in upending entrenched politicians in other states.

So, there was intense interest among the state’s media about what Cochran might do. I was literally afraid to go to lunch, thinking I might miss the announcement. But instead of announcing his decision to the state media as a whole, he gave the scoop to one Washington, D.C., reporter, who works for a state newspaper.

In some ways this fits the narrative that most likely will be espoused by McDaniel and his supporters that Cochran is a Washington, D.C., insider more so than he is a Mississippian.

Granted, he was talking to a reporter working for a Mississippi media outlet. But why did he not come home to make the announcement before people who will decide his political future?

Does he not have time to do that?

As I listened again to that aforementioned message left on my antiquated telephone it dawned on me that if nothing else Cochran is as unassuming and as accommodating as someone in his lofty status in life can be.

No doubt, Cochran was asked a question by a reporter, who by being in the nation’s capital every day has better access to him, and, since he had decided what he was going to do, he answered the question.

That is the way Thad Cochran always has done business, and he saw no reason to change at this point in his life.

It should be noted that later on the same day Cochran personally called Mississippi journalists to talk about his decision.

Perhaps a campaign opponent can accurately allege many things about the Pontotoc County native. But it would be a stretch to say he no longer pays attention to the folks back home.

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