Saturday, July 29, 2017
Some hope on the horizon
For seven years the Republicans in Congress have been running vote after vote to repeal the ACA/Obamacare so when the smoke cleared after Election Day and the GOP controlled the White House and Congress, they rejoiced. At last they could repeal the hated black guy's legislation. Except for one small problem, they were all big on the WHAT but had no idea about the HOW of the deal.
The Republican Party’s seven-year quest to undo the Affordable Care Act culminated Friday in a humiliating failure to pass an unpopular bill, sparking questions about how steep the costs will be for its congressional majorities.And as is the new trend among the Republicans, the failure is blamed on the moderates rather than the fire eating radicals who won't take yes for an answer. The ones who made repeal unpalatable to a large majority of the public want to try again. And 2018 is the time to work hardest to rid Congress of their pestilence.
While lawmakers have not completely abandoned the effort, they are now confronting the consequences of their flop. Not only has it left the GOP in a precarious position heading into next year’s midterm elections, but it also has placed enormous pressure on the party to pass an ambitious and complex overhaul of federal taxes.
Strategists argued for months that Republicans risked more by not acting and alienating their conservative base than by passing an unpopular repeal bill that could turn off swing voters. They now live in the worst of both worlds — with nothing to show for seven years of campaign promises, even though dozens of vulnerable lawmakers cast votes that could leave them exposed to attacks from Democrats.
“This is an epic failure by congressional Republicans,” said Tim Phillips, president of the conservative Koch network group Americans for Prosperity. “But it’s time to pivot to tax reform. There’s no time to pout.”
In the moments after the a bare-bones repeal bill failed early Friday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said it was “time to move on.” But there seemed to be little stomach afterward among Republicans on Capitol Hill for acknowledging outright failure on their top campaign promise.
Lawmakers did agree, however, that when they return to Washington after Labor Day, they must succeed in their rewrite of the tax code after seven months that have seen too many of their top agenda items untouched.
“We’ve asked the voters for a lot,” said Rep. James B. Renacci (R-Ohio), who is leaving Congress after his current term to run for governor. “They’ve given us the House. They’ve given us the Senate. They’ve given us the presidency. It’s time to give them something back and get something done.”
Off the Hill, the collapse of the repeal effort has left conservative activists fuming about how the GOP could have flinched and pondering payback for the party establishment — particularly several moderate senators who voted for ACA repeal legislation when it had no chance of becoming law only to balk when it did.
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