“I imagine many Democrats were celebrating last night. I hope they consider what they are celebrating. The American people are hurting, they need relief, and it’s regretful that our Democratic colleagues decided early on that they did not want to engage with us seriously in the process to deliver that relief. But that doesn’t have to be the end of the story…”
— U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
18 July 2017
The U.S. Senate is a fickle thing. 50 votes can get you there if you have the tiebreaker… but in a body where Republicans have a 53 seat majority, if three go one way or three go the other? Things get rough.
Consider for a moment that we are no better off than we were with Obama in the White House and Democrats in control of the U.S. Senate. Consider further that we are one or two votes away from Obamacare repeal in the U.S. Senate, even though they passed a much stronger bill in 2015 that had the added luxury of the knowledge that Obama would veto the plan…
Meanwhile, the Democrats are reveling in the fact that people are being hurt by Obamacare
Once again, we find ourselves faced with two — perhaps three — realities:
FIRST, that legislation is a bloody process, as it was designed to be by the Founding Fathers.
SECOND, that a Republican majority is not necessarily a conservative one.
There’s a third reality to face in all of this, one where McConnell’s remarks (and Chuck Schumer’s nastiness afterwards reveal) — this is indeed the Democrats’ mess. They crafted Obamacare. They designed it to fail. Once again Republicans have taken it upon themselves to fix a failing social program. Isn’t there some truth to President Trump’s claim that Republicans should just “let it fail” and then sweep up the pieces afterwards?
Of course, this is the entire debate over “repeal and replace” to begin with. Repeal was never enough, even with the two-year concession that Senator Rand Paul included to delay the actual repeal (still not enough for the trio of Republican Senators on the left). What replaced Obamacare had to be something that lowered costs, increased coverage, and prevented people from slipping through the cracks.
Is it a unicorn we are chasing?
Perhaps so… and perhaps Republicans were better served chasing smaller tag items such as tax reform, immigration enforcement, and infrastructure improvement — three things the GOP is united on; three issues where the White House is willing to do the heavy lift.
Meanwhile, the Democrats are reveling in the fact that people are being hurt by Obamacare — more than happy to let it fail, more than happy to watch as Americans pay more than they can afford for healthcare they never asked for, more than happy to hang around until they get the insurance company bailout that Senator Feinstein wanted (in the name of bipartisanship) just to keep a failing system propped up for another five years.
The good news is this: Republicans are tangibly close to getting something passed in the U.S. Senate — literally one or two votes. If McConnell gets a commitment and gets to 50 votes? Expect a quick vote in the U.S. Senate and a march to a reconciliation bill in order to get the package back in front of the U.S. House.