One of my favorite things to come out of the Republican ObamaCare flailing is Kemberlee’s term for it:  a cluster. It is that.  But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly has one card left up his sleeve, and he intends to use it next week: force his caucus to record for their constituents (and for posterity) their vote on ObamaCare repeal.  (Democrats will vote, too, of course, but we know how that will go.)

I like this move.  Put every single Republican on record for once and for all on ObamaCare repeal, and let us see who stands where and how that compares to the numerous repeal votes each cast when Obama was in the White House, veto pen at the ready.

This isn’t a single-play for McConnell; it’s part of one-two punch that he hopes will rally Trump supporters and others who want ObamaCare gone (or those who want to keep it.).  The pressure resulting from a formal repeal ObamaCare vote will help him herd recalcitrant members behind . . . something that is less of a cluster.

Politico reports:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is taking the rare step of forcing his members to take a tough vote on an Obamacare repeal bill, H.R. 1628 (115), that is on track to fail, making them own their votes.

Senior Senate Republicans believe the high-profile vote expected Tuesday — followed by conservative backlash over the GOP’s failure to fulfill its seven-year campaign pledge — might provoke enough heat from the base to bring senators back to the negotiating table.

Indeed, the Senate Republicans who have campaigned on, spoken for, and supported the repeal of ObamaCare will be placed in a difficult position.  A position that they are already prepared to defend to their constituents by explaining that “circumstances have changed” since they voted for repeal in 2015.

Politico continues:

The decision to hold a vote — versus just pulling the bill from the floor without forcing members to go on the record — will be more difficult for some senators than others.

It could be the biggest liability for Republicans who supported a 2015 repeal bill — which Obama vetoed — and now won’t support the same measure. All Republicans currently in office besides Sen. Susan Collins of Maine supported it.

“We’re going to find out if there’s hypocrisy in the United States Senate in the next few days,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.). “I don’t believe in situational ethics. So if you thought it was a good idea to repeal when we had a president that probably would not have accepted it, what’s wrong with repealing it now when we have a president who would sign it into law?”

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who is not up for reelection until 2020 in a conservative state, argued that “circumstances have changed” since she voted to repeal the law in 2015 and that she “would hope” voters understand her argument. For instance, expanded Medicaid has played a big role in combating the opioid epidemic in her state.

“People’s minds change and circumstances change,” Capito said. “And as time goes on, that’s what’s happened and you know, I gotta do what I think is the right thing to do.” She doesn’t want to vote on a repeal until she sees a replacement measure for the Affordable Care Act.

Is the change in circumstance one of the perceived growing support for government-run health insurance? Or is it something else?

The vote on repeal will tell us a great deal . . . as will McConnell’s next move.


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