2014-02-01T060339Z_1_CBREA100GUF00_RTROPTP_2_USA-FISCAL

Republicans, eyeing elections, paper over divisions

Cantor arrives for a House Republican caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol in WashingtonBy Susan Cornwell and Richard Cowan CAMBRIDGE, Maryland (Reuters) – Republican lawmakers, hoping to ride the disastrous rollout of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law to victory in the November congressional elections, are trying to put internal fights behind them and unify around a proposed Obamacare replacement. During a two-day retreat on Maryland’s frozen eastern shore, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives also sought to shed the image they acquired during last October’s government shutdown as a cantankerous opposition party. The smaller-government Tea Party faction and more moderate “establishment” House Republicans are linking arms around a strategy for the first time since they took control of the chamber in early 2011 – if all goes according to plans hatched during the closed-door retreat 85 miles east of Washington. Republicans have seized on “Obamacare” as a way of turning around their image.

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