President Trump’s first Tweet following a flurry of Thanksgiving-related posts was a bold one. He declared that “we will Repeal & Replace [Obamacare] right after Tax Cuts!”
The inability of Republicans on Capitol Hill to make a dent in the Affordable Care Act is arguably their biggest failure since their party won the White House. After seven years of promises in that regard, they have delivered zilch. A handful of actions against Obamacare have come from the White House, but nothing of substance has materialized.
Their proposed tax cuts look more likely to pass than previous ACA repeal and replacement attempts. One notable roadblock to Obamacare repeal bills, Senator Lisa Murkowski, indicated she was in favor of ending the individual mandate. The Senate version of the tax bill includes language that removes that individual mandate penalty, lending credence to speculation she’s in favor of the tax bill in general.
Whether that prompted the President to look beyond tax cuts to repeal and replace is unknown, but his Tweet seems to indicate confidence that Congress will act soon:
ObamaCare premiums are going up, up, up, just as I have been predicting for two years. ObamaCare is OWNED by the Democrats, and it is a disaster. But do not worry. Even though the Dems want to Obstruct, we will Repeal & Replace right after Tax Cuts!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 23, 2017
This may just be a standard Tweet for the President intended to juice up his base. It has the ingredients he normally uses, particularly since Twitter doubled the character limit. He states a problem, takes credit for something, blames someone, and finishes with a bold statement of upcoming action. Then again, it could be what it seems to be at face value: confidence that Congress is poised to put a tax bill on his desk and hints at a plan to push forward so they can repeal and replace Obamacare before the midterm elections.
Though Congress is moving much faster on tax cuts than they did with repeal and replace, there are still major roadblocks. With Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson opposing the Senate version, the GOP can only afford one more defection. Even if they do get it passed, they still have to reconcile it with the House bill which does not include removing the individual mandate penalty. Last week, Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney said the White House was okay with dropping the penalty removal from the tax bill if that’s what it took to get it on the President’s desk. I called for the President to reverse that narrative and pressure Congress to keep it.
The President said he’d give Americans their tax cuts as a Christmas present. If this Tweet is an indicator, he may now be confident he can keep that promise.