The other day, Mitch McConnell made clear to Republican Senators that he would block efforts to offer amendments on full repeal of Obamacare this legislative year.I wrote about.Then Alexander Bolton at The Hill wrote about it.Then Rush Limbaugh mentioned it.Then conservative group Restore America’s Voice Foundation said it would, well, Alexander Bolton has a follow up report.
Restore America’s Voice Foundation said it would “unleash” its 2.3 million activists to call for McConnell’s resignation if he didn’t retract his comments.
Well, Mitch McConnell is now retreating.
Ken Hoagland, the chairman of the foundation, said McConnell’s chief of staff spoke with him for 20 minutes by phone after the threat was issued and vowed to make March “Repeal Obamacare Month.” Hoagland said his group was taking a “trust but verify” approach and would unleash TV ads and petitions asking for McConnell to step down as minority leader unless he shows he’s serious about repeal. “He has to look for opportunities to bring amendments to the floor,” Hoagland said.A senior GOP aide said Senate Republicans have planned a public relations campaign this month to highlight the need to repeal the controversial healthcare law. The aide said the campaign has been in the planning phase for weeks.
Now look, we all know this “planning phase for weeks” is pure nonsense. We know this from Alexander Bolton’s prior report.Senators loyal to Mitch McConnell were willing to go on the record saying Obamacare wouldn’t be brought up all year. Senator Barrasso (R-WY), one of McConnell’s loyal lieutenants said people were already on the record and he didn’t think there was a need for another vote.In Washington, this is the diplomatic dance of retreat. McConnell got exposed and the position was so set in stone his loyal lieutenants were willing to go on the record. So now they all have to say the original reporting was wrong, even though it wasn’t, and they now have to do what they did not want to do. It really is striking how quickly McConnell folded when his leadership was threatened. This should tell everyone what they must do whenever they want McConnell to fold like a cheap suit.
But notice one thing in McConnell’s retreat, he’s still not saying he’ll push full repeal. There are already potential partial repeal measures coming from the House. Partial repeal, of course, will get rid of the things everyone hates now that they have all read the bill. And each thing partially repealed from Obamacare without a full repeal makes it less and less likely the GOP will then advocate for full repeal instead of “fixing it.”And then we go full circle to yesterday’s story. Once all the stuff everyone agrees should be taken out is taken out, we come full circle to Mitch McConnell’s original position.
McConnell may also want to shield his Senate GOP colleagues from voting to repeal popular portions of the healthcare law, such as the provision allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26 or another barring insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions.
Once you’ve gotten rid of all the stuff on which there is bipartisan agreement, every additional point of repeal becomes a full on partisan fight just like a full repeal vote, but with one big difference: a full repeal vote has the American people on the side of the GOP. Each additional partial repeal vote will have the public breaking off back and forth between the GOP and the Democrats, making partial repeal a mine field for the Republicans.If the GOP will not commit to votes on full repeal with the American people so clearly on their side, prepare to be nickeled and dimed into an even more costly form of Obamacare where all the stuff both sides agree they hate (the stuff that typically was designed to keep costs down) goes away and all the stuff the Democrats love stays because squishy Republicans are too scared to vote with the rest of their party to get rid of.So, will Mitch McConnell finally let Jim DeMint’s legislation on full repeal get to the floor for a vote?