Senate Republicans and Boston Tango on Taxes

Senate Republican leadership sources tell National Review Online that the Romney campaign’s position on the Obamacare penalty — that it’s not a tax — will not change the conference’s plan to make a tax-based case against the law.

As with Romney, Senate GOP leaders reportedly agree with the Supreme Court’s dissent, but they are eager to highlight the law’s new taxes and regulations. In other words, Senate Republicans share Romney’s broad take on the ruling, but they may emphasize the tax aspect of the law more than Boston.

Earlier today, Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior Romney adviser, told NBC News that Romney disagreed with the Supreme Court’s majority decision, which ruled that the individual mandate’s penalty was constitutional as a tax. “He agreed with the dissent that was written by Justice Scalia, which very clearly stated that the mandate was not a tax,” Fehrnstrom said.

In the coming months, expect Senate Republicans to hammer Obamacare. But don’t expect them to get into the weeds about Romney’s Massachusetts plan. They’ll agree with Romney that the dissent makes sense, and then pivot to the problems of the law.

Robert Costa — Robert Costa is National Review's Washington editor and a CNBC political analyst. He manages NR's Capitol Hill bureau and covers the White House, Congress, and national campaigns. ...

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