Monday, January 16, 2017

Congressional leadership, coalition-building, and Obamacare replacements

Still continuing on the theme, if Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are going to pass any kind of Obamacare replacement-- a necessary condition for repeal, as stated by enough Senators to block repeal-- they need to manage the competing preferences of their caucuses.  Here's where you need to know some basics about Congress.

Procedurally, the Speaker of the House is much stronger than the Senate Majority Leader.  He just has a lot more rules that he can exploit.  The problem that Paul Ryan has is that his caucus is filled with hard-liners-- the same ones who booted John Boehner because he couldn't get Obama to turn into a Republican.  McConnell may not be able to pass very much, for the reasons I've been covering.  We'll see.  The problem for Paul Ryan is that his job will be to sell to his caucus whatever McConnell got out of his caucus.  If the House Freedom Caucus (the tea party people who booted Boehner) think that they can get more, and demand more, then Ryan has trouble on his hands.  And he won't even be able to blame a Democrat.

Sometimes the leader is only nominally in charge.

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