Numerous White House officials scoffed at the prospect of an actual Obamacare-repeal revival, saying that they can’t fathom depleting political capital on a project with virtually no chance of passage this close to the midterm elections. One West Wing official called it a “suicide” mission. A senior administration official said that the issue wasn’t being taken seriously inside the building because the president’s team has concluded “the votes aren’t there.”
With Trump and his aides eager to avoid revisiting one of their biggest legislative humiliations, the likelihood of Obamacare repeal and replace actually getting another hearing is incredibly remote. But that hasn’t stopped some in the party from fretting that the issue remains a political tripwire. In leadership circles, there is an emerging fear that those floating the idea of taking another whack at Obamacare repeal and replace are setting up a lose-lose situation in which GOP lawmakers look either feckless for ducking the issue or impotent for again failing to successfully pass it.
“All these people out there not responsible for elected real-life senators don’t seem to realize there are consequences for failed votes,” said one top Senate GOP aide. “We experienced them last summer. I don’t understand why we would want to have that again.”