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“The Self-Defeating GOP”: The Difference Between Trying To Actually Legislate And Simply Grandstanding

These days, there is never a dull moment in the Republican Party. Today, the House of Representatives voted to pass a bill that would repeal significant portions of the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature health care reform law. This time the repeal measures are packaged in a budget reconciliation bill, so named because it carries out instructions that were outlined in the budget resolution which passed Congress earlier this year.

Budget reconciliation bills are subject to special rules which allow for limited debate in the Senate and are thus able to pass that chamber with a simple majority rather than the 60 votes necessary to end a filibuster. Opponents of the health care law view the reconciliation bill as their first opportunity to move a bill targeting the Affordable Care Act through the Senate and on to the president’s desk. Although the president is expected to veto the measure, many Republicans feel the political exercise would be a symbolic victory.

However, not everyone in the Republican Party is happy with the legislation. The Hill reports that three Republican senators, Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida and Mike Lee of Utah, will oppose the bill because it only repeals parts of the Affordable Care Act and not the entire law. The authors of the reconciliation bill were limited in what they could include in the package by the rules of the reconciliation process in the Senate. With narrow margins in the Senate, the defection of the three Senators puts Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., perilously close to losing the vote altogether.

The three opposing senators have offered a plan to override the Senate parliamentarian and pass a more aggressive bill as the solution to the conundrum. As of this moment, it does not appear that their proposal has a lot of support.

The revolt over the reconciliation bill is illustrative of the overwhelming tension within the Republican Party. On the one hand is the segment of the party that wants to operate within the parameters of what is achievable, and on the other is the segment of the party that wants to adhere to strict conservative principles no matter what. It’s the difference between trying to actually legislate and simply grandstanding.

The commitment of Cruz and his followers to their talking points regarding full repeal is so blind they don’t even realize they are trying to nullify Senate rules just a few weeks after the conservative House Freedom Caucus managed to force out Speaker John Boehner for his supposed disregard of the House rules. The current party dust up is even more striking because it is over a bill that never has a chance to become law to begin with. As Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., told The Hill, “It’s a pretend vote and people are upset because it doesn’t pretend enough.”

The conflict is not serving the party well. Never mind trying to keep the government open or negotiate a budget deal. It appears that even symbolic political achievements – in this case a standoff with the president – are now at risk. If this keeps up, Democrats won’t have to do anything. They’ll be able to stand back and watch the Republican Party defeat itself.

 

By: Cary Gibson, Thomas Jefferson Street Blog, U. S. News and World Report, October 23, 2105

October 24, 2015 - Posted by | Budget Reconcilation, Conservatives, GOP, Obamacare | , , , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. It’s what we should have expected: Republicans were trying to sabotage anything that Congress could possibly accomplish, and now that they have both majorities and are the only ones with the power to accomplish anything, they end up sabotaging themselves.

    Like

    Comment by List of X | October 24, 2015 | Reply

    • A circular firing squad that’s getting smaller and smaller. No one will be left standing.

      Like

      Comment by raemd95 | October 24, 2015 | Reply

      • Right, they’re all will be running for president.

        Like

        Comment by List of X | October 24, 2015

  2. What is interesting about the proposed language which includes repealing the individual mandate is former Senator and Tea Party Leader Jim DeMint, who is now head of the Heritage Foundation, is on record as a staunch supporter of the individual mandate under Romneycare which he supported for the whole country. He used the phrase it required individual responsibility.

    Like

    Comment by Keith | October 24, 2015 | Reply


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