As the failed attempt to repeal and replace the ACA made clear to the nation the party controlling Washington DC is nearly as internally divided has as America itself. Something Trump can take at least partial credit for.
Time is short tonight as prior commitments are consuming our time. So, following is an excerpt from The Washington Post that makes the point well.
President Trump and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan made it a binary choice: You’re either for their health-care legislation or you’re for “Obamacare.”
From Reps. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) to Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), spanning the party’s ideological spectrum, the answer came back Friday: No, it’s much more complex. It was filled with several different options and possible routes ahead, and dozens of Republicans agreed with their sentiment.
That left Republicans well short of the votes they needed to fulfill a seven-year promise to destroy the 2010 Affordable Care Act once they were fully in charge, delivering a stinging defeat to both Ryan and Trump.
It also suggested a new dynamic in which both the right and left flanks of the Republican conference are emboldened to challenge leadership. And that could make each future negotiation more difficult as the issue matrix gets more complicated and the pockets of internal GOP resistance continue to grow, not shrink, in the new era of Trump’s Republican-controlled Washington.
Some parts of these botched negotiations looked a lot like the recent past. Franks and his House Freedom Caucus cronies played the role of obstructionists who will buck party leaders no matter if it’s John A. Boehner, Ryan’s predecessor, or now Trump. These ideologues gobbled up tons of attention, resulting in much care from Trump, Vice President Pence and top West Wing advisers.
By lunchtime Friday, Franks still would not commit to publicly supporting the bill — even though he admitted it was far better than current law. “Of course it is, yeah, it’s a lot better than Obamacare, of course it is. There’s not even any comparison,” Franks said a few hours before the legislation went down in flames.
Franks remained upset that conservative proposals were left out of the bill because they would have violated Senate budget rules, meaning that the proposal to replace the ACA was nowhere near to his liking.
“That still is like putting dirt in ice cream,” he said.
Other parts of the negotiation, however, were new and quite different from the previous six years of Republican control of the House. Nothing capped this off more than the stunning announcement Friday morning from Frelinghuysen, just three months into his hold on the coveted Appropriations Committee gavel, that bucked leadership.
“Unfortunately, the legislation before the House today is currently unacceptable as it would place significant new costs and barriers to care on my constituents,” he said in a statement.
Democrats, who have been relied on in the past to backfill those lost conservative votes, have signaled they will not do so this time if the legislation includes funding for controversial measures such as Trump’s request for funding to build a border wall.
That messy task falls to Frelinghuysen’s committee — and it will become much more difficult for the new chairman to ask for loyalty votes on his legislation just a few weeks after he walked away from Ryan on the AHCA.
Below is a definite must read. With video,