With the ObamaCare repeal vote set for today, and the outcome almost entirely uncertain, reports indicate that President Trump is disappointed with the progress so far and has conceded to his inner circle that he wishes he would have started with tax reform as opposed to healthcare.
The New York Times reports:
Mr. Trump has told four people close to him that he regrets going along with Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s plan to push a health care overhaul before unveiling a tax cut proposal more politically palatable to Republicans.
He said ruefully this week that he should have done tax reform first when it became clear that the quick-hit health care victory he had hoped for was not going to materialize on Thursday, the seventh anniversary of the act’s passage, when the legislation was scheduled for a vote.
Two of his most influential advisers — Stephen K. Bannon, his chief strategist, and Gary D. Cohn, the National Economic Council director, who had a major role in pushing the bill — came to agree, and did not like the compromise that was emerging. So on Thursday night, Mr. Trump delivered an ultimatum.
He dispatched his budget adviser, Mick Mulvaney, to a conference of House Republicans and told them they had to vote on Friday. And if the bill fails, he said, Mr. Trump will move on. [Emphasis added]
The threat from the White House boils down to Congress either passing this repeal bill, or Trump will abandon the repeal push and leave the Affordable Care Act to stand or fall on its own. I’d be a fool to offer a guess as to how this vote will go down today, there are scenarios where I could see it passing and scenarios where it gets rejected.
First of all, does the House Freedom Caucus really want to be the ones to stop the ObamaCare repeal? They’ll argue that this isn’t the repeal they were looking for, etc… But perhaps they’re pushed into passing this with the understanding that the bill will change between the House and Senate conference.
On the other hand, it really seems like some member of Congress are willing to kill this bill as they see it more of an alteration to ObamaCare than an outright repeal of it. In that case, I can see some of them holding out and voting “no” with the hope that sometime in the future, perhaps if Republicans capture 60 seats in the Senate in 2018, they can revisit this topic with better results.
Here’s more on the Trump ultimatum, from Axios:
Budget Director Mick Mulvaney has just laid down a gauntlet to House Republicans on behalf of President Trump: pass this bill, or Obamacare remains in place.
Members of the conservative Freedom Caucus want more concessions but, according to Mulvaney, Trump will not negotiate further.
The president demanded a vote tomorrow [Friday], and now it appears he will get it. He is all but daring Republicans to vote no.
The Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare as it’s known, was passed amid a similar flurry of House and Senate bickering, but back in 2010 it was between Democrats. The repeal of this legislation seems fraught with similar issues, only this time Republicans are the ones holding the bag and arguing over the details.