“We’ll vote for it only if you assure us it will never pass into law.” That was probably the height of the absurd kabuki dance Senate Republicans perpetrated on the American people and their healthcare over the past few days. So-called “master politician” Mitch McConnell of the backward-ass state of Kentucky did everything he possibly could to pass something, anything, resembling a repeal of Obamacare only to get an in-your-face “NO” vote from Sen. John McCain.
So what failed? The House version of repeal and replace—you know, the one that President Trump celebrated in the Rose Garden only to call it “mean” weeks later. Then, a repeal and replace that would have scaled back the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare, throwing tens of millions of people off their insurance while giving massive tax cuts to the wealthy. Then a repeal now, replace later attempt. And finally, a move to pass a “vehicle bill,” the so-called “skinny bill” that would move to a conference with the House. It was this bill that senators were assured would never become law.
This is no way to run a legislature.
There were signs all along that McConnell didn’t have the votes for any of the options. Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) made it clear he wasn’t going to be hustled by McConnell.
Besides McCain, two courageous Republican women, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska sealed the fate of the skinny bill. Murkowski’s vote was particularly courageous. Both she and fellow Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan received calls from Trump Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke reportedly threatening them about their votes.
So for seven and a half years these Republicans promised they would repeal and replace Obamacare, and did so dozens of times only to have President Obama veto them. Now, the GOP is the dog that caught the car. Once they were in control, they didn’t know what to do.