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When are Republicans in Washington going to find out that they control both houses of Congress? Soon? After years of promising to repeal Obamacare to bring relief to the millions of Americans who have been harmed by skyrocketing premiums, stratosphere-leaping deductibles, and vanishing insurance policies, Senate Republicans abjectly failed to deliver last night. Senators Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Susan Collins (Maine), and John McCain (Arizona) joined with all 48 Democrats to vote “No” on a so-called skinny repeal of Obamacare, causing the bill’s defeat 51–49. Murkowski’s and Collins’s perfidy was expected, but John McCain’s no vote reportedly elicited shocked gasps from his fellow Republicans. I don’t know why. He apparently hobnobbed with Senate Democrats before casting his vote, so it can’t have been that surprising.
The “skinny” repeal itself appears to be an absurd bill that didn’t really repeal much. But Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell apparently hoped, we’re told, that it would be amended in conference with the House. So the Republicans — who campaigned on repeal, who voted for repeal bills countless times — have failed to deliver. Murkowski, Collins, and McCain are scoundrels. (I of course have empathy and sympathy for McCain’s medical condition — but he deserves contempt for last night’s vote.) Murkowski and McCain, in particular, deserve our disrespect for having voted for Obamacare repeal in 2015.
President Trump’s critics are (of course) blaming him rather than blaming the three Republican senators who voted with the Democrats to consign millions of Americans to misery. According to NeverTrumeprs, Republicans should keep their promises only if Trump reminds them to do so. Can we stop calling Murkowski, Collins, McCain, and others “moderates”? Their positions are not moderate. They are intransigent. They refuse to budge. Murkowski and Collins, for instance, refused to vote even to open debate on the repeal bill earlier this week. Their “moderate” position forced John McCain, who is dying from brain cancer, to fly to Washington from his home state of Arizona to cast a yes vote for a bill he didn’t even support. How’s that “moderate” of Murkowski and Collins?
Trump this morning on Twitter again renewed his call to let Obamacare die. I hope he doesn’t actually mean that. I believe it is a persuasion tactic. (Most things he says are — not that NeverTrumpers have figured that one out yet. Pro-tip: Read The Art of the Deal.) Obamacare has fewer chances of surviving to the end of the decade than Senator McCain has, and in its death throws the health-insurance law is leaving Americans without options, without care, and without hope. And apparently Republicans don’t care enough to keep their promises. Today, the GOP isn’t just the Stupid Party, it’s the Lazy, Lying, Cowardly Party.