• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

McConnell Pulls The Plug On Senate Health Care Reform Bill

United States Capitol Building, Washington, D.C. Aerial

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pulled the plug on the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the Senate’s attempt to ‘repeal and replace’ the Affordable Care Act after two more Senators announced their opposition:

WASHINGTON — Two more Republican senators declared on Monday night that they would oppose the Senate Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, killing, for now, a seven-year-old promise to overturn President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement.

The announcement by the senators, Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas, left their leaders at least two votes short of the number needed to begin debate on their bill to dismantle the health law. Two other Republican senators, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine, had already said they would not support a procedural step to begin debate.

With four solid votes against the bill, Republican leaders now have two options.

They can try to rewrite it in a way that can secure 50 Republican votes, a seeming impossibility at this point, given the complaints by the defecting senators. Or they can work with Democrats on a narrower measure to fix the flaws in the Affordable Care Act that both parties acknowledge.

Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, conceded Monday night that “the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful.” He outlined plans to vote now on a measure to repeal the Affordable Care Act, with it taking effect later. That has almost no chance to pass, however, since it could leave millions without insurance and leave insurance markets in turmoil.

But President Trump was not ready to give up. He immediately took to Twitter to say: “Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!”

In announcing his opposition to the bill, Mr. Moran said it “fails to repeal the Affordable Care Act or address health care’s rising costs.”

“There are serious problems with Obamacare, and my goal remains what it has been for a long time: to repeal and replace it,” he said in a statement.

In his own statement, Mr. Lee said of the bill, “In addition to not repealing all of the Obamacare taxes, it doesn’t go far enough in lowering premiums for middle-class families; nor does it create enough free space from the most costly Obamacare regulations.”

By defecting together, Mr. Moran and Mr. Lee ensured that no one senator would be the definitive “no” vote.

House Republicans, after their own fits and starts, passed a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act in May, a difficult vote that was supposed to set the stage for Senate action. But with conservative and moderate Republicans so far apart in the Senate, the gulf proved impossible to bridge. Conservatives wanted the Affordable Care Act eradicated, but moderates worried intensely about the effects that would have on their most vulnerable citizens.

The Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, responded to the announcement on Monday by urging his Republican colleagues to begin anew and, this time, undertake a bipartisan effort.

“This second failure of Trumpcare is proof positive that the core of this bill is unworkable,” Mr. Schumer said. “Rather than repeating the same failed, partisan process yet again, Republicans should start from scratch and work with Democrats on a bill that lowers premiums, provides long-term stability to the markets and improves our health care system.”

Roughly 20 million people have gained coverage through the Affordable Care Act. Repealing the law was a top priority for Mr. Trump and Republicans in Congress, who say it has driven up premiums and forced consumers to buy insurance they do not want and cannot afford.

The opposition from Mr. Paul and Ms. Collins to the latest version of the Senate bill was expected, so Mr. McConnell had no margin for error as he unveiled it. But he managed to survive through the weekend and until Monday night without losing another of his members — though some expressed misgivings or, at the very least, uncertainty.

Mr. McConnell had wanted to hold a vote this week, but he was forced to abandon that plan after Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, had surgery last week to remove a blood clot from above his left eye. That unexpected setback gave the forces that opposed the bill more time to pressure undecided senators.

Already, Mr. McConnell was trying to sell legislation that was being assailed from many directions. On Friday, the health insurance lobby, which had been largely silent during the fight, came off the sidelines to blast as “unworkable” a key provision allowing the sale of low-cost, stripped-down health plans, saying it would increase premiums and undermine protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions.

The Senate bill was already on its last legs well before Senators Lee and Moran announced their opposition, of course. Almost as soon as the revised bill was released last week, it drew the opposition of two Senators from opposing ends of the GOP Caucus who gave different reasons for opposing the deal. On the conservative side, Rand Paul said he opposed the bill because it didn’t sufficiently repeal the Affordable Care Act and instead called on the Senate to simply go forward with repealing the PPACA and worry about replacement at a later date. Susan Collins of Maine, on the other hand, appeared to speak for many in the more moderate wing of the Senate GOP Caucus when she said that the bill went too far to the extent that it undermined protections for people with pre-existing conditions and the changes it made to the PPACA’s expansion of Medicaid in those states that chose to participate in that part of the law. In addition to those two Senators, though, there were as many as a half dozen or more Senators who had not yet expressed an opinion on the bill, including people such as Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Dean Heller of Nevada, both of whom had come out in opposition to the original draft of the Senate bill, which was pulled shortly before the July 4th recess when it became clear that the Senate would not be able to hold a vote before taking that relatively short break.

In the end, it seems clear now that the Senate GOP’s entire ‘repeal and replace’ effort was doomed once that initial effort failed to make it to a vote. It was quite obvious at the time that Senate leadership wanted to take a vote on the original draft of the bill before the recess because they realized that sending Senators back to their states with the bill still standing out there would mean that Senators would be exposed to constituents during holiday parades and town hall meetings, many of whom would be strongly opposed to the Senate ‘repeal and replace’ effort. Additionally, they seemed to anticipate that the longer the bill was public without the Senate voting on it, the stronger public opposition to the bill would become. As it turns out, that’s exactly what happened. Many Senators returned home to constituents angry about what the Senate was considering, and polls showed that the public strongly opposed the plan and even that support for the Affordable Care Act was far stronger than support for any of the Republican ‘repeal and place’ plans. Then, Senator McConnell was forced to delay the vote yet again due to the fact that John McCain will be out of town for at least a week and he could not afford to lose a single vote.

If McConnell is to be believed, the Senate will now move on to a plan that would repeal the Affordable Care Act but not include any kind of replacement. Instead, implementation of the repeal would apparently be delayed for at least two years with the intention that Congress would work on devising a replacement during the delay period. Even if a bill like this were to pass the House and Senate and make it to the President’s desk, though, it’s not likely that things would turn out the way McConnell seems to think they would. Kicking the can down the road on replacement would essentially guarantee that Congress will not come up with any kind of a deal. In such an event, it’s likely that the remainder of this year will be taken up by matters such as the budget for the next fiscal year, the possibility of legislation dealing with tax reform and infrastructure coming down the road, and, of course, the ongoing investigation into Russian efforts to interfere in the election and possible collusion between Trump campaign officials and Russian officials in that regard. Looking beyond that, once we get to the end of the year and the beginning of 2018, both parties in Congress would be focusing on the midterm elections and 2019 would mark what is effectively be the beginning of the 2020 campaign. The idea that there is going to be any more consensus on a replacement bill during that time period is, frankly, laughable. If the GOP was going to pull this off, it had to happen within this first year of the Trump Presidency. The fact that it clearly won’t means that, once again, the effort to ‘repeal and replace’ Obamacare would be doomed. In the end, the most likely outcome would be that Congress would quietly vote to extend the delay in implementation of any repeal bill to give themselves more time until, eventually, they just pass a bill that would effectively repeal the repeal and the basic structure created by the PPACA would remain in place.

Before we get there, though, the Senate would have to pass a bill repealing the Affordable Care Act, and that doesn’t seem likely at all. While such a bill is likely to bring Senators such as Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Jerry Moran back into the fold, it is unlikely to gain the support of moderates such as Susan Collins and would likely send people such as Murkowski and Heller into the ‘no’ camp as well. One of the main reasons for this is that the Congressional Budget Office has already said that a repeal-only bill would lead to some 34 million people without insurance coverage and premium increases near or over 100% over a ten year period. With a score like that, it will be difficult for other wavering Senators, such as Ohio’s Rob Portman and Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson. It would also likely make it difficult for Senators such as Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and others to support the bill. As The Washington Post’s James Hohmann and CNN’s Chris Cillizza both state this morning, the reality is that a repeal-only bill is likely doomed in the Senate and may not even have a chance in the House of Representatives if it were ever placed on the floor there. Additionally, unlike the bill that the Senate was set to eventually consider until last night, a repeal-only bill is unlikely to fully qualify for consideration under the Senate’s reconciliation procedures, which means that McConnell would need sixty votes to either begin or end debate on the bill and proceed to a final vote. Since it’s unlikely that any Democrats are going to cross the aisle to help Republicans in this instance, that would mean that the repeal idea would die a quick and rather ignominious death. So, while Republicans will likely put up a show over the next several weeks of trying to repeal Obamacare, the reality is that they will most likely fail to do so and that we’ll be left with the status quo, which would amount to a tremendous defeat both for Congressional Republicans and for the Trump White House.

Update: Since I posted this bill, two Republican Senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Shelly Moore Capito of West Virginia, have announced they cannot and will not support a repeal-only bill. Senator Rob Portman, meanwhile, expressed “uncertainty” about such a bill, suggesting that he’s leaning toward opposition. Additionally, Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana made comment’s similar to Portman’s, thus putting him in doubt when it comes to supporting a pure repeal bill. With Collins and Capito opposed, the bill cannot survive even one more Republican defection.

Update #2: Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski has announced she opposes Senator McConnell’s repeal-only plan, meaning that it is effectively dead:

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Ala.) says she will not support moving forward with a plan to repeal ObamaCare with a delayed replacement, effectively killing the latest legislative gambit from Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell(R-Ky.)

Murkowski, who had balked at the last version of the ObamaCare bill, said she is a “no” on the motion to proceed to a repeal-only plan. She is the third Republican senator to take that position.

“No. I said back in January that if we’re going to do a repeal there has to be a replacement. There’s enough chaos and uncertainty already,” she told reporters Tuesday.

Earlier Tuesday, Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Shelley Moore Capito(R-W.Va.) also said they will not support moving to the repeal-only bill. Republicans can only afford two defections.

Senator McConnell’s plan lasted about eighteen hours.

Update #3: I’ve written a separate post about the failure of the repeal-only proposal.

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    The rigid ideology of the Republicanists leaves them unable to pass any kind of meaningful legislation that is not morally execrable. It serves them well when all they need to do is obstruct. It is, however, anathema to governing.

    a tremendous defeat both for Congressional Republicans and for the Trump White House.

    So much WINNING. I’m bored with all the winning…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  2. Mark Ivey says:

    Fine Tuned Machine.

    *SNIFF*

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  3. de stijl says:

    They’ve had eight years to come up with something.

    It doesn’t even have to be good / effective. It just has to look good enough to get 51 votes. They cannot even manufacture a PR win.

    They have voters that have figuratively cut off their noses. They hate their faces that much.

    Eight years and it is a disaster with no winning strategy even near to being on the table let alone passable.

    R staff are beyond pathetic. Their bosses have made them so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  4. CSK says:

    Did you see what Trump Tweeted after he Tweeted about repeal? This:

    “As I have always said: Let Obamacare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan. Stay tuned!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  5. CSK says:

    Further Twitterings of D.J. Trump:

    “The Senate must go to a 51 vote majority instead of current 60. votes. Even parts of full Repeal need 60. 8 Dems control Senate. Crazy!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  6. reid says:

    The pig can only be perfumed so much before it induces retching….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  7. de stijl says:

    @CSK:

    Who knew that the Senate was meant to be more deliberative?

    And that health care policy was complicated?

    Whocouldaknown?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  8. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    So much WINNING. I’m bored with all the winning…

    Wait… let’s take a look at trumps original quote”

    You’re gonna be so proud of your County.
    You’re gonna be so proud of your President.
    You’re gonna get so tired of winning, you’ll say “Please, Mr. President, it’s too much winning we have to stop, and I’ll say NO, we have to keep winning, we have to win MORE!”

    Hmmm… He didn’t say WHO would be doing all the winning.

    Right now, it looks like the Democrats are doing all the winning.

    Cause Trump and the GOP Congress is like watching the Three Stooges and a banana peel on a non-stop looped gif… Every day, more winning for Democrats.

    Today’s new fun: Ripping off the elderly

    Let’s hear it from the GOP Zeitgeist:

    Hey America… Sure our tax giveaway to billionaires didn’t work. Who knew that heath care was important to mere humans.

    But wait… since we couldn’t get you to buy that BS, let’s go and privatize Soc Sec & Medicare. You don’t need that and that will Get more money to billionaires! Your gonna love it!!!

    Wait… What do you mean, no?

    We let you elect the moron that lies straight to your face about everything… isn’t that enough to keep you happy?

    Look ! Squirrel !

    So much winning.

    For Democrats.

    Let’s keep it up !!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  9. HarvardLaw92 says:

    So, we have a ridiculous, ineffective clown of a president, who managed to squeak into office by lying to the Great Disaffected™, coupled with a Republican majority (and a Republican base) which is factionalized and at war with itself.

    As a result, nothing gets done and the Dems get to sit back and say (with legitimacy) “Not our circus, not our monkeys”.

    Whocoodanode? 😀

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  10. MBunge says:

    The Republican Senate passed an Obamacare repeal in December 2015 that was, I believe, worse than the current proposal, but they knew President Obama would veto it. So as much as certain folks want to make this about Trump, it’s really an illustration of the dysfunction and corruption that produced Trump.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 15

  11. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @MBunge:

    Unfortunately for your tribe, you get the whole Winning™ Package – lock stock and both smoking barrels.

    You guys are like the annoying neighbor who suddenly finds his house on fire, then takes umbrage when we don’t offer to let you use our garden hose.

    This one is all on you guys. You broked it; you boughted it. Enjoy your purchase :-)

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 1

  12. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @MBunge:

    So as much as certain folks want to make this about Trump

    It is absolutely about your Dear Leader, Mike.
    He ran on repealing and replacing Obamacare with something “beautiful” that would cover everyone, preserve existing conditions coverage, not cut Medicaid, and cost a fraction of what it does now.
    If you really want to blame someone besides your Snowflake president, look inward.
    You got conned. You ate up that comb-over crap. And now you are beginning to see what we already knew; Dumb Don is a two-bit huckster and is completely unqualified for, and incapable of performing, the job.
    So maybe it’s not all about Trump…maybe a lot of it is about you.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 1

  13. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:
  14. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    LOL

    “The winning. It burns! It burns!”

    I feel positively giddy today 😀

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  15. Terrye Cravens says:

    @MBunge: It is not as if they are mutually exclusive. It is possible for the GOP to be dysfunctional and for Trump to be at fault. After all, he promised America that things would be different once he was elected. And people actually bought that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  16. de stijl says:

    Is this day one?

    I can’t read the calendar correctly anymore because all of this winning.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  17. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @de stijl:

    Um hmmm:-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  18. Not the IT Dept. says:

    MBunge has just explained why Republicans need to be defeated in every election they contest. They’re weak, vapid, spineless wimps who can only react to what others do. Therefore they’re not good enough or strong enough to be elected to office.

    Thanks, MBunge!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  19. MarkedMan says:

    In fairness to MBunge, I don’t think this is essentially about Trump. Trump has proven that he doesn’t have the intelligence or attention span to understand anything put in front of him. He can be goaded into taking an action by virtually anyone (“I have to hit back when someone attacks me”) and it’s usually a stupid action. But he would sign anything put in front of him and then lie to his very stupid supporters about what was actually in it. So I think this fiasco is all about the Republicans. It is taken as a de facto truth that they have to do this all on their own, but the reality is that they could do a lot if they just followed the original Hastert rule (a bill can’t be bought to the floor unless it has a majority of Republicans supporting it. In the Senate that means they could get by with 27 Republicans and 23 Democrats, all the way down to 49 Republicans and 1 Democrat. But the modern version of the Hastert Rule seems to be that no compromises can be made with a Democrat for any reason.

    So they end up trying to craft a piece of legislation that satisfies 96% of Republicans, 20% of whom think anything short of complete elimination of Medicaid is too leftist and 10% who feels that any a drastic reduction in Medicaid is too harsh. And you cannot convince them with facts and figures because those have no meaning in the modern Republican Party. There is simply no path for the camel to get through the eye of the needle.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  20. Mister Bluster says:

    Face it Bungles, pussy grabbing perverts like your hero REPUBLICAN President of the USA Pork Chop Pud just aren’t good for anything else.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  21. Scott says:

    Bottom line: This was a terrible bill that went against many GOP interests, particularly in rural states. Which is why it was done in secret and rushed to voting.

    This was a failure of the Republicans in general.

    It demonstrates the incompetence and high level BS that is our President. He repeated promises and doesn’t deliver just as he did in his private life.

    I seem to remember that he promised a healthcare plan in March. Never happened like so many other promises. He’ll continue shrinking before our very eyes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  22. Yank says:

    McConnell’s legislative brilliance was always overblown, but the GOP two biggest problems is they lack substance and that Trump is incompetent.

    I know the election has made everyone cynical about policy and whether of not it matters, but it still does matter. You can’t just rollback coverage and expect people to be ok with it and the GOP never understood that.

    Trump’s incompetence was also a major problem. The president is the one who is suppose to sell major legislation. Now this bill would have been nearly impossible to sell, but what effort did Trump put into selling it? Seriously compare how handle this to how Obama handled the ACA or even Bush’s failed attempt of Social Security reform in 2005.

    The GOP needs to wake up and realize that won’t be able to get anything done with a disengaged and ignorant president.

    They should cut him loose before it is too late.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  23. de stijl says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Re: Hastert rule

    New name should be what? McConnell rule?

    That doesn’t really make sense. A rule should be named after a successful implementer of said rule.

    You know those guys with the No Fear ink and the like? No Compromise No Surrender

    D-bags with the tat equivalent of D-U-M-B on the right knuckles and F-O-O-L on the left?

    Maybe the Love & Hate rule? Hold Fast. Cash $ony. Stay Cool.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. Neil Hudelson says:

    I, for one, am just glad MBunge is alive and healthy. The dude comments on every post about Trump, and then for some reason–who knows what possible reason!–he is just absent during all the coverage of Donny Jr.’s crimes.

    Glad you’re back on your feet and feeling better, Mike.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  25. de stijl says:

    @MarkedMan:

    The Borg rule?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  26. For those who haven’t seen the two updates to this post that I made, three Republcian Senators — Susan Collins of Maine, Shelly Moore Capito of West Virginia, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — have come out against the repeal-only idea. This means that McConnell does not have the minimum of 50 votes he needs to pass such a bill.

    It’s dead.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  27. grumpy realist says:

    Now Trump is ranting via Twitter that he’s going to just let Obamacare fail and then they’ll work on a new health care program.

    Which, if enacted, would probably mean the blue states would cobble something together that worked and the red states would lose all their health care providers.

    Don’t these idiots realize that if they pass the cuts to Medicaid and Medicare that the Club for Growth and that crowd are salivating for–then a heck of a lot of rural areas aren’t going to have hospitals, PERIOD. Then what? Do rural patients just die when they get a problem? You can potentially do remote diagnostics by telemedicine but you certainly can’t do remote surgery by it. Not until we really get the robots and AI working…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  28. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    No wonder trump hates women so much!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  29. Mister Bluster says:

    @MBunge:..So as much as certain folks want to make this about Trump, it’s really an illustration of the dysfunction and corruption that produced Trump.


    That would be the dysfunctional and corrupt REPUBLICAN PARTY USA that nominated Trump and the citizens who voted for Trump.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  30. de stijl says:

    @grumpy realist:

    My brother travels roughly 175 miles twice a week to Mayo in Rochester. There are no docs in his area that can treat him above palliative care.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  31. de stijl says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    Well, they do bleed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. Blue Galangal says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: I was going to say, hooray women in the Senate!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. KM says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    So maybe it’s not all about Trump…maybe a lot of it is about you.

    They are the peewee league asking why they can’t run plays like the Patriots do. The answer: the Patriots are a *professional* league who has their sh^t together. Love ’em or hate ’em, they own that field. Even on a bad day, they can still kick your ass and make you work for it. Conservatives – you can’t score touchdowns if you don’t show up for practice or think it’s a tennis match instead. The public hates this bill. Stop trying to make it happen, it’s not going to happen. You’re in the wrong game son if you can’t score for 5yd line.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  34. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    It was always going to be DOA. The whole point of floating repeal only was to send a message down the avenue that simply repealing the PPACA is a non-starter.

    That and a not so subtle arm twist in making them flip flop on something they voted to approve last December.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  35. KM says:

    @CSK :
    If you can’t get 60 people out of 100 to agree with you, how the hell do you think you’ll get America to accept it? That’s the point of the rule: make sure it’s acceptable by most standards, not the bare minimum. The Founding Fathers require more then a plurality for a reason.

    My pol sci teacher once described the dangers of simple majority as such: “Yes, you may have one more person to win your argument but that leaves 49 people ready to kick your ass to change your mind.” They’re always more hotly contested and therefore flash points. Nobody likes to lose by a thin margin and are likely to become cause celebre for years to come.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  36. michael reynolds says:

    I must say I find this all very gratifying. My position for seven years has been that a) Obamacare was a bit of a mess which was, nevertheless, the best anyone could have gotten given the political realities and b) once healthcare was fully in the government’s ‘in’ box, it would never be out again. Thank you, GOP, for proving me right.

    I’ve also held that core Republican ‘ideas’ were papier maché in a hurricane, phony crap that comes apart the instant it’s exposed to any real stress. Check.

    And of course I’ve ben reassuring people (mostly myself) that Trump lacked the skills necessary to expand beyond his base and actually effect meaningful change, and that he would be rejected by American culture like a bad kidney transplant. Check and check.

    This is Trump’s Gettysburg. There will be other battles, and we will lose some of them, but we are past Peak Trump. From here on in he grows steadily weaker. Russiagate is already eating this regime alive. Tax reform can’t be done now without Democrats and Democrats, having watched the Republicans set themselves on fire, are not rushing to find a hose.

    Also, let’s not overlook the fact that Trump just validated the Obama Iran treaty.

    Oh, and the debt ceiling is coming.

    MAGA!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  37. de stijl says:

    @Yank:

    McConnell had obstruction rep, not legislative.

    Obstruction was day one goal in Jan 2008. McConnell may actually be able to plan as an obstructor, but not as a productive legislator. Which is likely more of a factor of the caucus than the leader.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  38. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Oh, and the debt ceiling is coming.

    I await that sideshow like a child awaits Christmas

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  39. Yank says:

    McConnell had obstruction rep, not legislative.

    Obstruction was day one goal in Jan 2008. McConnell may actually be able to plan as an obstructor, but not as a productive legislator. Which is likely more of a factor of the caucus than the leader.

    Yup.

    Everyone made the mistake by confusing McConnell’s obstruction rep with legislative rep. he has the former, but never proved to have the latter.

    And to be fair to him, major legislation is hard to do especially when your policy sucks and the President is a gibbering fool.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  40. the Q says:

    ……Not until we really get the robots and AI working……

    What does Allen Iverson have to do with healthcare?

    This “repeal Obamacare” silliness is the U.S. version of Brexit. Purely an emotional response, like getting married in Vegas during a blackout, then waking up to the sobering reality. It feels good at the time, but the mistake is realized almost immediately.

    The kids on the right just want to make sure President Blackenstein’s major achievement is tarnished and destroyed since the Kenyan Marxist anti colonial is despised by the crackers.

    The GOP should just sponsor a “we hate the Negro” bill that condemns everything about Obama and have a mock lynching on the Senate floor to satisfy the crazies, then we can all go about doing the nation’s business.

    This isn’t about Obamacare, if it was the GOP would have had a replacement bill all thought out and vetted years ago. This stupidity is the result of GOP racist attitudes and is pure redmeat to the moronic wingnut crowd. “Birther” and “repeal Obamacare” are code words to rally the 25% Klan base of the GOP.

    It can’t be anymore obvious than this latest failure and the Dems, as usual, can’t capitalize on GOP incompetence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  41. de stijl says:

    @the Q:

    What does Allen Iverson have to do with health care?

    He is the master of the crossover.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  42. michael reynolds says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    I fear a popcorn shortage.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  43. From the article: “The Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, responded . . . by urging his Republican colleagues to begin anew and, this time, undertake a bipartisan effort.”

    While this may be a good idea, it will never happen in a sincere way unless Democrats take the lead. With 52% of the public thinking Democrats are “only against trump” and stand for nothing else, it’s time for Democrats to lead. So, Democratic leadership, I challenge you. You’ve got a second chance. Identify yourself. Let’s see what your health care bill looks like — put it on the table.

    And how about taking it a step farther and proposing a revised process that will lead to a true bipartisan solution. Show us you can be smart leaders with real solutions, not just Trump/GOP bashers. Give us a reason to vote for you. See my post: “Wake Up Democrats; Another Chance At Self-Identification” https://goo.gl/BcimZF

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  44. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @J.P. McJefferson:

    Sorry, but this is where we step aside and allow the GOP to immolate itself.

    We’ll assume leadership attitudes if/when we retake Congress in 2018. Until then, you broke it, you bought it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  45. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @J.P. McJefferson:

    … it’s time for Democrats to lead …

    Aww isn’t that cute…

    The GOP spends 8 years screaming about how the black guy is not an American, and that Dems are traitors, and now, with the GOP holding the Presidency, House, Senate, and some would say the Supreme Court… it become time for the DEM’s to lead ???

    Clearly the GOP has no clue what they are doing, and you think that the adults should help?

    No thank you sir. We DEMs have until the midterms to watch this sideshow, and enjoy the 21st century Keystone Kops.

    What a maroon.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  46. Remember this map: https://goo.gl/ZVRcHt
    It’s gonna take leadership to overcome this. Just saying “no” won’t do it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  47. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @J.P. McJefferson:

    I remember what the map looked like prior to the 2010 midterms as well. One of two things happens here:

    1) Congressional Republicans do not see the writing on the wall and keep their little boat tied to the SS Trumptanic. They go down in flames in 2018.

    2) Congressional Republicans do see the writing on the wall, and start throwing both Trump and the bombthrower segment of their caucus under the bus in order to start cutting deals with Dems to, you know, facilitate actual governance.

    In either scenario, we win. In either scenario, the country wins. You’ll note, however, that both scenarios begin with “Congressional Republicans”. They control the agenda. The thing flies or crashes entirely based on what they choose to do.

    So, Dems have a choice between sharing the credit or avoiding the blame. Either way, this is not our problem. We’ve been given the opportunity to sit back, blameless, as the GOP willingly self-destructs.

    We’ll be taking it, thanks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0