Exactly what I imagined in this post. If you’re a GOPer who’s antsy about the bill, the smart play is to try to out-populist Trump in your reasons for opposing it. That way, if he attacks, you get to reply that you’re sticking up for the little guy because he won’t. That might not save you from the wrath of Republican voters in your district, but it’ll give them something to think about.
I believe Leon Wolf is correct that Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is the first Republican in either chamber to commit to a “no” vote. Others like Rand Paul have strongly suggested they’ll go that route, but they’re holding off for now in hopes of negotiating a better final product. Any theories on why a congresswoman from Florida might be especially leery of a bill that’ll disproportionately burden Americans who are approaching Medicare age?
“After studying the impact of this proposed legislation on my district and speaking with many of my constituents, I have decided to vote no on the bill as currently written,” she said in a statement to the Miami Herald. “The bill’s consequences for South Florida are clear: too many of my constituents will lose insurance and there will be less funds to help the poor and elderly with their healthcare.”
Ros-Lehtinen’s 27th district, which includes Southeast Miami-Dade County, had the largest number of Obamacare enrollees in the country — about 96,300 — as of January, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated Monday that some 14 million people would lose or drop coverage by 2018 under the proposed American Health Care Act, which has been endorsed by President Donald Trump.
The smart play for moderates now, with the White House scrambling to make conservatives happier by nudging the bill to the right, is to speak up and make their unhappiness known. And, per CNN, some are doing so. Expect more of this in the next few days in an attempt to drag the bill back towards the center, especially the proposal to end the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion in 2018 instead of 2020:
[Rep. Charlie] Dent told CNN that rolling back the Medicaid expansion before 2020 — which conservatives have been asking the White House to do — would be a “non-starter” and could potentially endanger the legislation on the House floor and in the Senate, where nearly 20 members hail from Medicaid expansion states.
“Taking that date back from 2020 is a huge problem. It is a non-starter for many,” Dent said, adding that he spoke not only for himself but other members of the Tuesday Group…
An emerging concern from House moderates is they could be asked to walk the plank on a health care bill that doesn’t have a chance of passing the Senate in the first place.
Yeah, how do Trump and McConnell resolve that dilemma while producing a final bill that’s somehow conservative enough for Ted Cruz and Rand Paul and centrist enough for Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski? The problem in the Senate is that no one wants to commit to voting for the bill until they know it can pass the House. Meanwhile, no one in the House wants to commit to voting for it until they know it can pass the Senate, creating a Catch-22. Only Trump can resolve it, but with outfits like Breitbart and Newsmax attacking the bill, Trump’s commitment to Ryan’s plan is probably in more doubt on the Hill right now than ever. He’d better lay down the law in that Louisville rally on Monday.
And meanwhile, the attack ads have begun. This is what Collins, Murkowski, Dean Heller, Jeff Flake, and Shelley Moore Capito will be facing soon.