Sen. Ted Cruz is among those Republicans who feel the current House bill to replace Obamacare does not go nearly far enough in ridding the country of the big government burdens inherent in the Affordable Care Act. And according to The Hill and Bloomberg Politics, the Texas conservative thinks he knows how to turn the bill into something more palatable for Republicans who are not currently on board with the plan.
Cruz says he’s looking at a Senate parliamentary rule from the 1970s that would allow Republicans to pass a bill that matches their campaign promises. Certain reforms were left out of the bill because the party felt there would be no way to get it past the Democrats’ inevitable filibuster in the Senate. Republicans want to use the reconciliation process to get rid of many of Obamacare’s worst aspects, thus allowing them to pass legislation with a simple majority.
The parliamentarian is typically in charge of deciding what can and cannot be passed using this process, but Cruz says there’s a 1974 provision in the Congressional Budget Act that would give Republicans a leg up on their Democrat rivals.
“Under the Budget Act of 1974, which is what governs reconciliation, it is the presiding officer, the vice president of the United States, who rules on what’s permissible on reconciliation and what is not,” Cruz said. “That’s a conversation I’ve been having with a number of my colleagues.”
Cruz believes that by getting Vice President Mike Pence to expand the number of regulations that can be repealed through reconciliation, Republicans can begin crafting a healthcare bill that would appeal to the more conservative members of Congress.
Hopefully the GOP leadership is listening, but we fear they aren’t terribly interested in succumbing to conservative pressure on the Obamacare replacement bill. House Speaker Paul Ryan has made it very clear that “this is THE bill,” and that it’s essentially going to be his way or the highway. Congressional GOP leaders and the Trump administration are urging Republicans to get on board by insisting they won’t get another chance to pass a better bill.
Right now, unfortunately, we’re looking at a bill that is loathed by both Democrats and Republicans, and political analysts are already predicting that it will not pass the Senate in its current form. If their predictions come true, Obamacare will remain the law of the land, the death spiral will continue, and Republicans will face an irate electorate in November 2018.
It’s almost unfathomable that they could screw this up…but you can never underestimate Washington’s capacity for incompetence.