After failing at least once in the House, depending on your definition of failure, the GOP’s hopes of repealing and/or replacing Obamacare looks to also now be official dead in the Senate as well. All of which officially proves that John Boehner was spot on when he said back in February that Republican chatter of a full repeal and replace of Obamacare was nothing more than a bunch of “happy talk.”
“So this is not all that hard to figure out. Except this, in the 25 years I served in the United States Congress, Republicans never, ever, not one time agreed on what a healthcare proposal should look like. Not once.”
“And all this happy talk that went on in November and December and January about repeal, repeal, repeal…if you pass repeal without replace, you’ll never pass replace because they will never agree on what the bill should be. The perfect always becomes the enemy of the good.”
Unfortunately, the Trump administration has wasted time engaging in that “happy talk” for 6 months now, thereby delaying other pieces of their legislative agenda in the process. As Bloomberg points out today, this wasted time on Obamacare could leave Trump with no wins in his first year in the White House despite control of all three branches of government.
The first casualty of the Obamacare debate is time: six fruitless months exhausted on a subject Republican leaders had hoped to dispatch in January. And this was supposed to be the easy one. Since 2010, Republicans had promised a repeal. Trump and Republicans campaigned hard on the issue. Yet despite full control of Washington, they couldn’t get it done.
He won’t release the broad outlines of his tax overhaul plan until September. The last time Washington did a major tax bill, in 1986, it took more than a year to pass. A $1 trillion infrastructure plan is little more than a talking point. Congress ignored his budget proposal. Republicans are as divided on all of these issues as they are on health care. Lawmakers haven’t even given him money to build his border wall.
And between now and the end of the year, Congress still has to approve more than $1 trillion in federal spending, pass a veterans health care bill and navigate a debt-ceiling fight to avoid a potential default, all in the space of about a dozen working weeks. It doesn’t leave much time for legislating, even for a Republican president who came into office with a package of promises and a Republican Senate and a Republican House to boot.
“Every Republican for the last seven years has campaigned on repealing Obamacare,” Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas said Tuesday. “I think the credibility of the conference is seriously undermined if we fail to deliver on that promise.”
McConnell isn’t quite ready to quit pounding his chest on healthcare just yet as he still plans to hold a vote on a repeal bill early next week. But, as we pointed out yesterday, a repeal only bill will go precisely no where which means a vote is simply a convenient method for Trump to officially identify which Republicans will have to answer for their decision to effectively support Obamacare when election season rolls around again.
Of course, now that they’re moving on to a tax overhaul, Republicans would like for you to believe that everything will be different this time…that the factions within the Republican party will somehow find a way to work together…that the “perfect won’t become the enemy of the good”…
White House officials say they’ve learned lessons from the health-care experience, and they believe Republicans, desperate for a political win after the collapse of the Obamacare bill, can rally around a compromise tax plan.
Rather than letting the House and Senate draft their own versions of the bill, as the White House did with health care, the administration plans to release a unified framework for changes to the tax code — with compromises on rates and loopholes already baked in and signed off by leaders in both chambers.
A small group of top Republican leaders — McConnell; House Speaker Paul Ryan; Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah and Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, who chair the Senate and House tax-writing committees; Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn — are discussing high-level principles for an overhaul, according to one person familiar with the matter.
They aim to outline their principles by the end of the month, vet them with members of Congress in August and release a plan in September, the person said. Debate would extend through the fall.
…we’ll let you be the judge but history and facts would seem to suggest an alternative, if less politically palatable, outcome.
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