"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“Living Exact Same Day Over And Over Again”: On Groundhog Day, Republicans Vote To Repeal Obamacare

President Obama hasn’t spent a lot of time with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), but the two leaders, joined by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), met at the White House this morning. The point, according to everyone involved, was to look for ways the policymakers can find some common ground and try to get things done in 2016.

To help set the tone, the Wisconsin congressman told reporters yesterday he was excited about the Iowa caucuses because “what it tells me is the days of Barack Obama’s presidency are numbered.”

He’s a real charmer, this one. You can just feel his enthusiasm for bipartisan policymaking in an era of divided government.

After the meeting in which the president tries to find areas of possible agreement with GOP leaders, Ryan will hold another vote on repealing the Affordable Care Act. The Washington Post reported:

The House is scheduled to vote Tuesday on overturning President Obama’s veto of legislation to repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood. The vote, appropriately scheduled for Groundhog Day, is expected to fail, leaving conservatives to gear up for a final year of budget fights with the president.

Asked about today’s events, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters, “Republicans are poised to host another vote in the United States Congress today for the 60th time to repeal Obamacare. It’s almost like it’s Groundhog Day, except today it is actually Groundhog Day and they’re doing it again.”

Earnest added, “So I’m not really sure that qualifies as the contours of a proactive legislative agenda but it does put some pressure on Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell, and other Republicans in Congress, to lay out what it is exactly they support and try to find some common ground with the administration.”

For the record, estimates vary on exactly how many times Republicans have tried to repeal all or part of the ACA, but the last time I checked, they were up to 62. In other words, Earnest might have been understating the case a bit.

Incidentally, shortly before the last repeal vote, Ryan was asked why he was moving forward with a bill to eliminate the Affordable Care Act before the Republican alternative is ready. The Republican leader told reporters with a smile, “Just wait.”

We later learned that this wait will continue past this year – because GOP lawmakers have already effectively given up on their plans to unveil a reform alternative in 2016.

As for today’s veto-override vote, there’s no chance of the bill succeeding. Paul Ryan and his team know that, of course, but they’re holding the vote anyway, just to go through the motions.

Postscript: In case anyone doesn’t get the reference, I should probably mention “Groundhog Day” was a classic movie from 1993 in which Bill Murray is stuck in a time loop, forced to live the exact same day over and over again. For those who haven’t seen the movie, I can assure you it’s far more entertaining than watching Republicans vote 63 times to take health care benefits away from millions of families for no particular reason.

Update: Reader F.B. emails, “In the movie, the character played by Bill Murray learns from each repetition how to live that day better. Unfortunately the Republicans show no similar improvement.”


By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, February 2, 2016

February 3, 2016 Posted by | Affordable Care Act, Mitch Mc Connell, Obamacare, Paul Ryan | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Deja Vu, All Over Again”: Every Day Is Groundhog Day For The GOP’s Obamacare Replacement

In a moment of irony not lost on observers, the GOP-led House Rules Committee will spend Groundhog Day considering the 114th Congress’s first destined-to-be-vetoed attempt to repeal Obamacare. Adding to the déjà vu is the fact that, despite promises to replace the health care law, Republicans still don’t have a firm plan.

The latest repeal bill, sponsored by Rep. Bradley Byrne, an Alabama Republican, doesn’t propose a replacement, but mandates that relevant committees “report to the House of Representatives legislation proposing changes to existing law.” Those proposals, in the language of the bill, should meet 12 provisions, all of which either rehash generic Republican priorities (“foster economic growth and private sector job creation by eliminating job-killing policies and regulations”) or repeat old conservative health care proposals, like medical liability reform.

Further to Byrne’s bill, Reps. Paul Ryan, Fred Upton, and John Kline are expected to lead a task force to create an alternative. “House Republicans’ most serious attempt thus far to develop their health care reform package,” Politico reported Friday.

Early last year, Republicans devoted considerable time to hyping up possible replacements. There was the proposal from Senators Tom Coburn and Orrin Hatch last January; then a March measure from the House Republicans, which The Washington Post described as a  “conservative approach to fixing the nation’s health-care system”; and, a few weeks later, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s Bobbycare.

And then in April 2014, Rep. Ryan released a budget for 2015 that repealed the law without endorsing any kind of replacement. When asked about his party’s plans, Ryan told The Washington Examiner that “we have lots of ideas of how to offer patient-centered health care… So you’ll see a lot of different comprehensive Republican alternative plans.”

Those alternatives never really solidified. The problem in 2014 was that Republicans couldn’t agree on one, or even on whether it was politically worthwhile to push an alternative that might distract from the Democrats’ Obamacare woes. The problem now is that the Supreme Court might completely gut the health care law in June by ruling that the three dozen states issuing Obamacare subsidies through federal exchanges are acting unlawfully.

Republicans have said that they want to be ready when the court decides—but they don’t seem to have a plan for that scenario. Then again, the Obama administration might not have a plan themselves.


By: Arit John, Bloomberg Politics, January 31, 2015

February 2, 2015 Posted by | Affordable Care Act, Health Reform, Republicans | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


%d bloggers like this: