Tonight, the Senate failed to pass the so-called “skinny bill” repeal, which would have sent the bill to the House of Representatives. The bill, as written and amended would only remove some mandates and repeal a few taxes, while retaining most of Obamacare. The final vote was 49-51.
Senator John McCain (R-AZ), watched carefully by both sides all night voted “no” on the measure, as did Sens Murkowski (R-AK) and Collins (R-ME).
Four Senators said they’d vote yes on the bill only on the explicit assurance that the House would take it to Conference Committee, in which members of each party and legislative House take part in constructing a bill both sides agree on. Then, if consensus was achieved, the final bill would be sent to both houses, passed and sent to the president.
A few hours before the vote, Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) gathered before the cameras to put on record their terms for voting yes on the bill they each said they “didn’t like.” It was political process strategy, so they could negotiate further, and not an endorsement of the bill.
Now, the Obamacare repeal/replace process is back to committee, which assures it will go back to “normal order,” as McCain asked for in his Tuesday speech on the Senate floor.
Perhaps not shocking, the singular talking point of the night for Democrats was claiming House Speaker Paul Ryan could not be trusted to follow through, and could send the bill to his caucus to pass and send to the president. As though they care anyway… they’d hate any bill the Republicans vote on. But somehow, they can make these appeals with a straight face.
Democrats inexplicably think its a rational argument to say:
- “Paul Ryan would very publicly lie to the entire leadership of his own party in the US Senate.”
- If Paul Ryan did lie, passing it would require believing the House would pass a bill exceedingly less conservative than the bill that barely passed the House. Anyone who thinks this is possible are ignorant, or intentionally lying.
- “The Republicans have been lying to their own people through this whole process, so they can’t be trusted.” As though their preference of KEEPING the ACA wouldn’t be a lie in itself.
- “People will die. This will affect real people’s lives.” I’m a “real people,” and the ACA killed my insurance – and millions of others – years ago. Do we not count? People die when the government regulates healthcare into an expensive commodity, then restricts access and quality by taking it over.
- “16 million will get kicked off insurance.” Except, choosing to not buy insurance the government mandates is not being “kicked off.” And that figure assumes every living eligible American would buy insurance sometime in the next 8 years. It’s simply a false metric based on a false assumption.
While the GOP has been promising to repeal/replace the ACA for seven years, they don’t have enough votes to slam through a full, clean repeal. Their 2015 bill that President Obama vetoed was an inconsequential bill the Democrats never tried to stop. Now, they would, and 60 votes are needed to overcome a promised filibuster.
Tonight’s vote was billed strictly as a way to move the debate out of the Senate and into the Conference Committee. All options are bad, but perhaps we can get consensus around the most effective small step forward. Assuming the right hand works together with the left hand, this could work to move toward the slow repeal of the ACA. It may take years, and most of us have no intention of laying low after this vote. But it’s clear that the Democrats have no intention of making it easy. And after tonight’s failure, everyone will be blaming everyone.
And unfortunately, until we win more Senate and House seats, we’re not going to be as successful in repealing this monstrosity as the Democrats were when they created it. They had 60 seats, we don’t.
Millions of Americans have suffered greatly under Obamacare, and millions more still are, and will in the coming years unless we stop this train wreck. Let’s keep fighting, and teaching neighbors every day so we can win more seats, and have a chance to do what needs to be done.