When the average two-legged creature adds the title ‘Congressmen’ to the front of his name it can turn out to be humorous – but expensive.
Last week at 10:30 in the morning House Republican Leaders rolled out their plan to repeal Obamacare; twelve and a half hours later the forty Congressmen sitting in the Ways and Means Committee had barely managed to debate two of the bills five subtitles.
The fifty-five Congressmen over in the Energy and Commerce Committee weren’t doing any better: They spent twelve hours debating the Democrats first amendment – to change the name of the bill.
During the hearings Democratic Congressmen, who rarely ever give a thought to how much they spend, raised Cain saying Republicans hadn’t waited for the ‘CBO’ projections to tell them how much the bill would cost; at the same time Republican Congressmen, who always say they want to cut spending, argued spending didn’t matter so they ought to go ahead and pass the bill.
The doctors and hospitals came out against the bill and, oddly, so did a group of conservative Congressmen.
President Trump invited the conservatives over to the White House for a round of bowling (who knew the White House had a bowling alley) and a little social persuasion: “This is going to be great. You’re going to make it even greater,” Trump said. Then, unexpectedly, he began to explain his fallback plan if the Republican bill failed: In that case, Trump said, we’ll just sit back and allow ObamaCare to fail and let the Democrats take the blame.
Huh? With Republicans in control of the White House, the Senate and the House, Trump figures voters will blame Democrats if the health care system collapses?
Back over in the House, the Democrats had discovered a provision buried in the bill that cut taxes on health insurance companies $400 million – getting down to brass tacks one Democratic Congressman announced the CEO of the United Health made $66 million last year and asked what kind of sense did cutting taxes on insurance companies make?
Another Democratic Congressman said that wasn’t the only tax cut in the bill – Republicans, he said, were also handing the ‘very, very wealthy’ a $600 billion tax cut.
Around 4am the next morning the House Ways and Means Committee passed the Republican Leaders’ bill and, a few hours later, the Energy and Commerce Committee did too. For one moment the day looked brighter for House Republican Leaders – then two Republican Senators announced the House Plan was dead on arrival in the Senate.
Later that day, as the sun set, a reporter asked House Speaker Paul Ryan why the Heritage Action, Freedom Works, Club for Growth and the Conservative Congressmen in the House Freedom Caucus had all turned thumbs down on his bill.
Well, Ryan said, the problem was “growing pains.” The conservatives had never been in office at a time when Republicans controlled the White House, House and Senate. So, unlike other Republicans, they still had to learn how to govern.