Brain-cancer’ed Grandpa Walnuts flew in from Arizona (“and boy, my arms are tired!”) to vote on the motion to proceed, which as we’ve stated is the motion to start stripping Americans of healthcare: without his vote, the ACA would have remained the law of the land. With Walnut’s vote, the Senate split 50-50, and Mike Pence (a man so full of sawdust that termites salivate when he walks into a room) made the deciding vote. Thanks a lot, Walnuts!
“On a Delta flight from Salt Lake City to Washington on Monday afternoon, Lee sat in the middle seat, furiously texting about his latest thinking in the health care debate, according to an eyewitness who sat next to Lee and described the messages to POLITICO.
“In one text, Lee told a recipient that he might still vote to proceed to the repeal debate, but that it was ‘still too early to do so in good conscience because we’re not being told anything.’ ‘This leadership line of pass something, anything, is dangerous and potent,’ Lee typed out in another message, written in a large enough font that fellow passengers could easily read his words, according to the eyewitness. In another text, Lee wrote: ‘This bill is nothing more than bailing out insurance companies with a few minor reforms thrown in for good measure.’”
And as we all know, Lee voted for it anyway.
So what’s next? Mike ‘Payola’ Allen writing the Axios morning email tells us:
The hot new thing: “Skinny repeal.” If neither the Senate plan nor straight repeal is gaining traction, the next option could be a bill that would repeal small parts of the Affordable Care Act — like the individual mandate and a tax or two.
The goal with getting skinny: To pass something that would trigger a conference committee with the House — an opportunity to write another bill!
Anything that keeps the process alive would be a good thing, a senior House GOP aide told Axios’ Caitlin Owens.
Tiger Beat on the Potomac (thanks Charlie!) morning email thingie tells us more about this skinny repeal dealio:
THE BET, although far from certain, is that Senate Republicans will pass a so-called “skinny repeal” bill — legislation that would end the employer and individual mandate, and medical-device tax. This would be a vehicle to allow the House and Senate to negotiate on a final repeal and replace bill. The “skinny repeal,” though, is not a comprehensive plan and includes no replacement, so it’s a tough vote.
AND ANOTHER QUESTION a lot of people are asking: what can get through the very divided — and increasingly conservative — House Republican Conference? This is not a gang known to favor incrementalism — and that’s what would emerge from a negotiation with the Senate.
We note dryly that the Individual and Employer Mandates are what makes the ACA actually work. So if they repeal that bit, the ACA becomes unworkable.
So what is next is going to be a a lot of chest-beating and puffery, and an amendment-a-looza with everyone and their favorite lobbyist bellying up to the trough. But as Steve Jobs used to famously say, One More Thing:
Claim Chowder: Every senator who voted “yes” was the deciding vote.
Dims if they are smart (hahahaha, I jest!) are going to run ads saying that Sen. Dean Heller was the “deciding vote” to take health care away from 33 million Americans. Same goes for Sen. Jeff Flake. Oh, look—it must be 2018, the ads are already here.
So, it’s the Kobayashi Maru for Heller and Flake (worst law firm ever):
“They were for killing health care before they were against it,” and somewhere John Kerry is smiling.