Thursday, April 27, 2017

Last Call For Democratic Hardball

Dems are pretty confident that the House GOP's plan to sneak through Trumpcare on a Saturday vote is a dead bill walking, so they are upping the ante in a dramatic way.

House Democrats will oppose a short-term spending bill if Republican leaders attempt to expedite an ObamaCare repeal bill this week, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) warned Thursday.

Hoyer, the Democratic whip, spoke with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) Thursday morning to warn him of the Democrats' position.

The threat is significant because GOP leaders will likely need Democratic votes to pass a short-term spending bill in the face of opposition from conservatives historically opposed to government funding bills.

"If Republicans announce their intention to bring their harmful TrumpCare bill to the House Floor tomorrow or Saturday, I will oppose a one-week Continuing Resolution and will advise House Democrats to oppose it as well,” Hoyer said in an email.

“Republicans continue to struggle to find the votes to pass a bill that will kick 24 million Americans off their health coverage, allow discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions, and impose an age tax on older Americans. That's why they are trying to jam it through the House before their Members can hear from the American people this weekend about their opposition to this horrible legislation.”

The Democrats’ move comes as bipartisan negotiators in both chambers are getting closer to an agreement on an omnibus spending bill to prevent a government shutdown. If Congress doesn’t act before midnight Friday night, much of the federal government would shut down.

The reality is that Trumpcare 3.0 is going down in flames just as before, and Dems now have the leverage.  Paul Ryan doesn't have the votes.

An amendment released Tuesday night, authored by moderate Rep. Tom MacArthur, appeared to placate conservatives who did not think the original AHCA went far enough in its repeal of Obamacare.

The amendment would allow states to apply for a waiver that would exempt their insurance markets from certain regulations created by the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, if they can prove it would bring down costs.

The waiver, health policy experts argue, could have negative consequences for people with preexisting conditions and allow insurers to offer plans that cover fewer health needs.

The tweak was enough to get the conservative House Freedom Caucus officially on board with the bill, which could mean support from roughly 20 members who were against the original AHCA.

But the amendment may have alienated more moderate members of the Republican caucus and could leave the AHCA short of the votes it needs to pass. Only 22 GOP members can vote against the bill for it pass through the Republican-controlled chamber.

And guess what?  That number's already been exceeded.

Time to watch the fireworks.

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