Here’s the unbridled truth. The “American Health Care Act” – AHCA – failed because the “Freedom Caucus” blocked it in the House last Friday ensuring that it never reached the Senate so we could at least TRY to get it through. And, as I have stated earlier there is NOTHING in the AHCA that Conservatives should have disagreed with if they would have actually taken the time to READ it. Every one of them has an opinion of it but very few if any can honestly say they actually READ it. You can read my assessment of the incredible RELIEF we could have provided millions of Americans just by passing “Phase one” here. Instead, we’re all now STUCK with Obamacare until at least 2019 because we can only use the Budget reconciliation process once each fiscal year and our current fiscal year ends in May. So, that means even if we COULD get the “Freedom Caucus” to work with us and pass a Budget Reconcilation bill in 2018, we will get NO relief from Obamacare now until 2019. Unless of course we can convince 8 Democrat Senators to vote with us to reach the 60 vote threshold in the U.S. Senate. That’s about as likely as using FACTS to convince Democrats that Putin DIDN’T ruin Hillary’s rightful coronation.
“Republicans got a full repeal bill through in 2015! Why can’t they do the same thing now?”
No, they didn’t. Those who argue that they did need to understand that the 2015 supposed ‘full repeal’ legislation DID NOT PASS the Senate as it was written. Why? Because the Senate Parliamentarian (Elizabeth McDonough) blocked repeal of IPAB and other non budgetary items because they were considered non budgetary in nature and as such stricken by her as extraneous. Why was Senator Cruz forced to follow the Byrd Rule via Budget Reconciliation in 2015? Because a FULL repeal vote would have required 60 votes in the U.S. Senate under Rule 22 which would require 8 senate Democrat votes which we DID NOT HAVE THEN and we DO NOT HAVE NOW. This was the necessity of following the same rules in our recent attempt (foiled by the “Freedom Caucus”) to pass the American Health Care Act.
” Just shove it through using the Nuclear Option!” Fantasy versus REALITY.
The other bogus argument being made by Conservatives is that we can just “use the Nuclear Option” to “shove it through“. This is NOT possible because the “Nuclear Option” used most recently by Harry Reid to shove through former President Obama’s judicial appointees IS NOT USED to pass LEGISLATION. A SEPARATE senate rule was created to pass legislation passed with only a 51 vote simple majority. It’s called the Byrd Rule (mentioned earlier) which is how we were going to attempt to pass the American Health Care act. This brings us to the next fantasy “well let’s just change the Senate rules then!” Changing a Senate rule requires 67 votes which would require 15 Democrat votes in the Senate which we also DO NOT HAVE.
And lastly, the total fantasy argument being made which says Mitch McConnell should just render the 60 vote majority rule or the 67 vote rule to change Senate rules “unconstitutional” which according to this fantasy requires only a simple majority vote (at least 51 Republican senators). In order to make this fantasy a reality, those who propose it actually BELIEVE that we would somehow get the support of John McCain and his life partner Lindsey, Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Rob Portman, Shelley Moore Capito and Cory Gardner (the last four want to KEEP Medicaid expansion under Obamacare). If you REALLY believe that’s possible, I have some ocean front property in Arizona to sell you.
So, we have to live within the REALITY of how the U.S. Senate works. That’s WHY the Budget Reconciliation process was used to attempt to pass the American Health Care Act which would have provided desperately needed relief to millions of Americans who are suffering under Obamacare, even though it wasn’t a ‘full repeal’ bill.
Why can’t we just shove it through like the Democrats did in 2009 via Reconciliation?
Because that didn’t happen. The Democrats had 60 votes to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). They met the 60 vote threshold. That bill passed with 60 votes. It was sent back from the Senate to the House and it was signed by President Obama on March 23, 2010. Where they used reconciliation was shortly thereafter to add things to the PPACA and that bill was also restricted to budgetary items and they had more than a simple majority to pass it at the time. So they were restricted by the same Senate rules as we are today. The difference is they simply had larger majorities in the Senate at that time than we do now.
The saddest part about the “Freedom Caucus” blocking passage of the AHCA in the House
There was one idea that MIGHT have actually WORKED and it came from the brilliant legal mind of Senator Ted Cruz. After tangling with the Senate Parliamentarian back in 2015 when she stripped non budgetary items from what was originally a ‘full repeal’ bill, Senator Cruz came up with the idea of REPLACING Elizabeth McDonough (Senate Parliamentarian) with Vice President Mike Pence so that items that were non budgetary in nature may have actually passed since they would now have to pass the muster of Mike Pence and not her. You know what the saddest part is? We’ll NEVER know if that would have actually worked thanks to the “Freedom Caucus” blocking passage of the AHCA in the U.S. House of Representatives.