McConnell is Trying to Pull Off the Biggest Heist in American History
Mitch McConnell is trying to hide the fact that the Republican healthcare bill is actually legislation aimed at achieving two long-term GOP goals. They are attempting to gut Medicaid and cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans by transferring billions of dollars from the poor to the super rich. In order to avoid scrutiny, they are doing it in secret, disguising it as a health care bill. The House version of AHCA would have given over $600 billion in tax cuts to top earners. McConnell is trying to pull off the biggest heist in American history.
While Republicans have been lining up to criticize the process by which the Senate version of AHCA is being conducted in secret. They are comparing it to the lies they have always told about how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed, not what actually happened. McConnell is not doing “same thing” as Democrats did to pass ACA. That bill actually had 45 hearings, 72 hours of debate, and 161 Republican amendments. A number of GOP senators, including g John McCain, are trying to have it both ways. They are disingenuously criticizing the process, while doing nothing about it. It would only take three Republican senators to demand hearings, in order to get hearings.
There are some reports that the Senate bill will actually be more extreme than the House bill to appease the right-wing in the Senate, like Paul, Lee & Cruz. If that happens then McConnell will have the same problem as Ryan had in the Senate. Once you try to appease those on the far right, you start to lose moderate Republicans from swing states like Collins and Murkowski. Conventional wisdom has been that they would make it less mean, since they threw the House version in the trash because it was too mean.
The Senate are currently writing a new bill in secret, which means it has to go back to the House to be voted on there. If it passes the Senate, goes to the House and is amended in any way, then it goes to reconciliation. In both the Senate and the House, the Republicans have the same issue; they need both extremes of their party to support it. Normally, Republican senators are more moderate than their representatives. Senators run statewide, so those from states that are not deep red have to be more moderate to get reelected. Many representatives run for reelection in safe, gerrymandered districts where the only threat to reelection is a primary opponent to their right.
The republicans were only able to pass the AHCA bill in the House by making it more mean, and getting the support of the ultra right-wing Freedom Caucus. Even then, they were a few votes short. They got those votes by convincing a few moderate republicans in the House that the bill would be thrown in the trash by the Senate. When the bill went to the Senate, they did exactly that. In the Senate, the bill can only pass with the support of a handful of moderate Republican senators from swing states. If the Senate passes a less mean version, the GOP will have passed two different versions of the AHCA bill. One in the House written to appease the extreme right, one in the Senate to appease moderates.
While not impossible that it can pass both chambers, it is no easy task. There is no indication thus far that they can agreed on an appropriate level of meanness in the Senate, let alone both the House and Senate.