Yesterday morning Trumpcare stood at two GOP senators against it, Maine's Susan Collins, who though Trumpcare was too cruel, and Kentucky's Rand Paul, who thought Trumpcare wasn't cruel enough. Three Republicans against it would mean Mitch McConnell wouldn't have the votes to pass it.
That brings us to last night, when Nevada's Dean Heller, stuck in days of "damned if you do, damned if you don't" hell and facing re-election in 2018, had his legs cut out from under him by two of Rand Paul's crew, Utah's Mike Lee and Kansas's Jerry Moran, both coming out against the Senate bill for not killing enough poor people. Mitch is now going with plan C: calling out Rand Paul's crew on the "not cruel enough" part by planning a vote to defund Obamacare immediately and then repeal the ACA in two years.
President Donald Trump's top legislative priority was dealt a potentially fatal blow Monday night as two more Republican senators announced their opposition to the party's health care overhaul.
Trump quickly called on Republicans to simply repeal Obamacare and begin work on a new health care plan, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he would try to do so.
“Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful," McConnell said.
The Kentucky Republican said he planned to hold a vote in the coming days to take up the House-passed bill to replace the 2010 health law and then call up an amendment to eliminate major parts of Obamacare, such as the Medicaid expansion, insurance subsidies and fines for the employer and individual mandates.
Republicans passed a similar bill to effectively repeal Obamacare in 2015 under reconciliation — the fast-track budget procedure the GOP is using to thwart a Democratic filibuster — but it was vetoed by President Barack Obama.
McConnell added that the repeal-only bill is "what a majority of the Senate has already supported in 2015," but GOP lawmakers have voiced severe doubts that such a plan can win the 50 votes necessary this year given the uncertainty it would throw onto insurance markets. The 2015 vote was viewed as mostly symbolic at the time given Obama’s certain veto.
But after his own caucus tanked McConnell's attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare simultaneously and at the prodding of the president, the GOP leader is going to force his caucus to go on the record on health care. If the Senate does vote to open debate on the House bill, which is not guaranteed, the repeal-only bill would be the first amendment. But senators would still be able to offer unlimited amendments to the bill, leading the GOP down an uncertain road once the process began.
"Republicans should just 'REPEAL' failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!" Trump tweeted shortly before McConnell's statement came out.
That House 2015 bill was literally the worst case scenario, it would kick 32 million people off health care coverage and double premiums by 2026. This is what Mitch is daring Rand Paul to block, as Trump will more than happily sign it. The bill was window dressing when Obama was around to veto it. It was never supposed to become law, but now Mitch is forcing his own caucus to eat this flaming poop sandwich and, you know, destroy the individual health insurance market in the process.
Rand Paul and his faction wanted something more cruel? They got it. And unless we fight back hard now, we're the ones who are going to "get it".
Call your Senators.