With just four days to go in this round of trying to kill Obamacare and every indication that they are going to fail, Republicans are planning the next totally partisan assault. The only way Obamacare is going to be repealed is with Republican votes, so they chose to get the job done through the budget reconciliation process, which can’t be filibustered in the Senate. Since it’s not likely to happen this time, they’re talking about trying it again with the next budget resolution.
There is nothing to suggest Obamacare repeal would get any easier in the coming months and doing so may significantly hobble the Republican majority’s other chief legislative priority: tax reform. But facing a floundering repeal push, wrath from the base and a frustrated President Donald Trump, Republicans may have no other choice but to keep pushing to uproot the law.
“We’ve got to do both,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said of tackling both Obamacare repeal and tax reform next year. “They’re complicated by necessity. So I don’t think that takes away the complications. But I think we’re supposed to be able to handle complications.”
Hatch added, however: “If it’s used to screw everything up, I’m not for that.”
Here’s how it could be done: While the Senate parliamentarian has ruled that the repeal push under fiscal 2017 must die after Sept. 30, Republicans could provide reconciliation instructions for both health care and tax reform in the fiscal 2018 budget resolution that Congress must pass to again unlock the fast-track procedural powers. That might entail some procedural hurdles, but one GOP aide said Monday that because the Finance Committee has jurisdiction over about 95 percent of health care policy, “it’s not like we couldn’t slip it in anyway.”
Sure, they’ll just slip it in, because that’s the way the world’s greatest deliberative body works these days. That’s not guarantee, however, that they’ll have any greater luck with either the so-far non-existent tax plan than they’ve had with their pathetic attempts at coming up with a healthcare proposal that even Republican could agree on. In seven years.
JAM THE PHONE LINES. Call your senator at (202) 224-3121 and tell them to just stop playing with our lives. (After you call, please tell us how it went.)