Sens. John McCain, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski joined Democrats in defeating the GOP’s “skinny repeal” effort early Friday morning, heralding what it likely to be the end of the party’s 7-year attempt to scrap Obamacare. In a vote that finally told the American people, “Yep, we’ve been lying our asses off this whole time,” these three Republicans managed to doom the repeal effort and – quite possibly – the party’s chances in the 2018 midterm elections.
This should not have been a close call. In fact, this vote should have never been necessary. Republicans have been vowing to repeal and replace Obamacare since it was passed into law, and, starting in January of this year, they had their one golden opportunity to do so. And somehow, they came into the legislative season without the slightest clue of what to do. After passing Obamacare repeal in the House dozens of times over the last seven years, Republicans found themselves suddenly divided about how to do it one more time. In the Senate, things were even worse, given the GOP’s slim majority. It seemed that no one really, actually wanted to live up to the rhetoric. President Trump was ready and willing to sign the bill. But Republicans got shy.
And so while McCain, Murkowski, and Collins deserve all the blame that’s heaped upon them, they aren’t solely responsible for this party-wide failure. Hell, it was common knowledge the day before the vote that Republican senators in NO WAY wanted the skinny repeal bill to actually become law. It was just another blind step into negotiations with the House. Many of them only agreed to vote for the bill once Paul Ryan promised to shuttle it straight into conference.
And now the repeal effort is effectively dead.
“It’s time to move on,” said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after the vote.
The White House likely agrees.
“3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!” President Trump tweeted Friday.
Well, that’s exactly what’s going to happen unless the two parties “deal” sooner than later, and pressure from the insurance lobby could very well force them to do just that. The current situation is clearly unsustainable, and the last six months have proven that Republicans – left to themselves – can’t come together on a solution. The only options left are: Wait for disaster (which could easily blow up in the GOP’s face politically) or start bipartisan negotiations. The latter is another word for: “We’re going to strengthen Obamacare.”
This is what we bought with our loyal Republican vote in November.
Something tells us 2018 is not going to be a pretty electoral picture.