They’re Back! When the Republican leadership failed to unify around their new health-care bill and pulled it from the vote, it seemed like the common understanding was that they were just moving on to tax reform. Obamacare would remain the law of the land, and the Democrats would have to own the looming disaster as it spiraled to its death.
But now, the House Republican leaders and the White House have come back to the table and restarted negotiations to fulfill their campaign promises to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The renewed push to get the job done did not meet with enthusiasm from Senate Republicans who are focusing on other priorities (like the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court). But Speaker Paul Ryan vowed to renew his efforts even after the devastating defeat due to a lack unity and votes.
It was just a few days after President Trump said that he was moving on to other issues that Vice President Pence began some lunchtime meetings on Capital Hill. It seems like Steve Bannon may be orchestrating a move to rally the big legislative victory that has eluded the White House.
While the Democrats were still celebrating their victory over the fragmented Republicans, Republican whip, Steve Scalise of Louisiana, said on Tuesday, “Their celebration is premature. I think we’re closer today to repealing Obamacare than we’ve ever been before, and surely even closer than we were Friday.” Representative Dave Brat of Virginia, a Freedom Caucus member, said, “I think everyone wants to get to yes and support President Trump, there is a package in there that is a win-win.” Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, said: “Obamacare is imploding in my state. Something has to be done.” When McCain was asked if he could vote for a bill that did not include a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, he said, “I would be willing to examine all options to protect the citizens of my state.”
At a White House reception for Senators on Tuesday night, President Trump was as confident in the art of the deal as ever: “We are all going to make a deal on health care. That’s such an easy one; I have no doubt that that’s going to happen very quickly.”
Do you think that the Republicans can regroup and make this happen?