All across the capital, politicos are arguing about what House Republicans should do next in the Obamacare fight. Can they prevail in the Budget Committee? How much damage has the CBO report done? Can the Freedom Caucus be brought aboard? What about the moderates? And reconciliation? The three-step process?
It has become mind-numbingly complicated. And perhaps the answer to all those questions is one simple sentence: Republicans are working on the wrong thing. And the Republican president is allowing himself to be distracted from delivering early and often on his core campaign promise of improving the economy and bringing jobs to millions of Americans.
Speaker Paul Ryan has made clear that Obamacare had to come first on the legislative calendar because of the requirements of reconciliation in the Senate, and because the Obamacare replacement’s changes to the tax code have to be taken up before the larger budget and tax reform. And, of course, Hill Republicans have promised to repeal and replace Obamacare for years. So the House has dived in.
“They found themselves stuck in this legislative quagmire in terms of the sequence of what has to happen,” notes a well-connected GOP strategist. “Since they have to do this through reconciliation, they have to do it before the budget, and have to do it before tax reform.”