Fox News reports that House Republican leaders are forging ahead Wednesday on their newly released Obamacare replacement legislation, pitching it as a first step toward fulfilling their campaign promise — despite mounting resistance from the party’s right and center flanks and warnings that it might not have the votes to pass.
“We have serious concerns,” said House Freedom Caucus co-chairman Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C.
“I don’t think it’s going to bring down the cost of insurance,” Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan told “Fox & Friends” Wednesday morning, vowing to introduce a “clean repeal.”
Conservatives have voiced specific concerns that the new plan would continue the Medicaid expansion for a few more years before a transition, replace existing insurance subsidies with a new system of tax credits and allow insurance companies to impose a surcharge for lapsed coverage.
As House conservatives plan to introduce their own bill — a so-called “clean repeal” of the Affordable Care Act — two key committees are taking up the legislation unveiled late Monday by GOP leaders. The House Energy and Commerce and the Ways and Means committees began “mark-up” sessions Wednesday morning, where lawmakers have their first chance to change and amend the plan.
This could be a contentious and drawn-out process, as GOP leaders try to convince the rank-and-file to work with the product they put forward Monday, rather than push competing legislation.
Passage of the Republican bill comes down to the numbers. The GOP can only lose 21 votes before the measure fails on a party-line vote in the House.
The Freedom Caucus has a bylaw that compels its members to vote as a bloc if 80 percent of its 40-plus members feel the same on a given issue — more than enough to derail the legislation.
Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., said Tuesday he doesn’t think Ryan has the votes unless he draws Democratic support, according to The Hill.
On Tuesday, Ryan said he could “guarantee” the bill would get a majority 218 votes to pass the House.
There was never a chance that Dems would support any major Republican changes to the ACA, but what’s interesting is the amount of opposition that the bill has rapidly generated among conservatives. Paul Ryan couldn’t get any of the conservatives on board with his plan, so is he really that inept or is it possible he doesn’t want a repeal plan to pass?
By no means is Ryan a true conservative, nor does he support smaller government. But he’s not inept. He’s an experienced lawmaker who knows how to work the system. He knows how to move legislation forward and he knows what needs to be done to advance an agenda. During O’s term he pushed through legislation for a straight repeal that he knew had no chance of being approved, and now that they have a chance to actually repeal it, his efforts come up extremely lame. Why?
Ryan has spent his time as Speaker going to great lengths to avoid upsetting the Dems by handing over big budget legislation and caving to their demands. He is well aware of what he’ll have to endure if he repeals O’care straight up. There will be huge protests in the spotlight, phony claims by nasty Democrats who will generate a PR war that historically he’s gone to great lengths to avoid.
In order to accomplish that, he pretends he’s fighting and ignores the blowback from the Republicans. When his guarantee gets shot down we’ll see the faux disappointment in his face followed by his promise to go back to the drawing board and try again. This gives him the best of both worlds along with job longevity. What’s best for the people and the country simply does not matter.