Thursday, March 9, 2017

What does Paul Ryan think he is accomplishing on Trumpcare?

I guess we're calling it that.  Trump has as much to do with the shape of the current Republican plan as Obama had to do with the ACA, so why not?

Anyway, the Ways & Means Committee acted like college students and pulled an all-nighter to report the bill out of committee, except that they weren't on any real deadline.  (I pulled plenty of all-nighters, but never without reason).  Still, Ryan seems intent on getting something through the House quickly.

The general reason Republicans want to pass any bill quickly, or so you may have read, has to do with budgeting, and changing the baseline spending numbers to make tax cuts easier.  I'll get into that soon enough, and I'll basically call bullshit on it (shocker!), but the bigger issues here are, as I see them:  the Senate and the Freedom Caucus.

The House generally moves faster than the Senate.  That's just the way of things.  The Senate will be the big obstacle anyway, as I keep pointing out.  That almost makes anything Ryan does here meaningless anyway, so in a sense, he might as well just get this done and move on.  There is logic, then, to just shoving a bill through committee, getting a floor vote on something knowing that the Senate will either do something completely different or not at all, thereby making the House irrelevant anyway, so this way, even if the Senate fails to do anything, at least Ryan can put all the blame on them having wasted minimal time and effort.

The catch is the House Freedom Caucus.  Ryan doesn't have to worry about moderates like Collins or Murkowski.  The House doesn't really have Republican moderates.  He does have to worry about the people that John Boehner called "the knuckleheads."  These are the people incapable of  complex strategic thought, and probably incapable of thinking their way out of a wet paper bag.  They would like to repeal not just Obamacare, but all of Medicaid, and what the hell, privatize Medicare and Social Security, cuz' that would go over well with the electorate.  And a lot of conservatives aren't happy with Trumpcare as is.  In case you hadn't heard, Trumpcare has also been called "Obamacare lite," and "Obamacare 2.0."

Figuring out what can get the support of the Freedom Caucus and Susan Collins is haaaaaaaaard.  That's actually the central challenge the Republicans face.  You know what might be a good place to try to start workin' that shit out?  How about a fucking committee?  You know, with real hearings, mark-up, and the whole shebang?

Ryan evidently is not worried about getting the Freedom Caucus on board with his version, or he'd be taking more care.  Maybe he is right.  Maybe the Freedom Caucus is more on board than they have already indicated.  I don't know.  The bill did get through Ways & Means, and there are a few hardcore people on that committee.  Just scanning the roster, Dave Schweikert jumps out at me (his DW-NOMINATE score is .892 on the -1 to +1 scale, putting him just a hair to the right of Ted "I fry my bacon with a machine gun" Cruz).  So, Ryan really might be able to pass Trumpcare through the House.  As I have been saying all along, though, the House isn't the biggest obstacle.  The Senate is.  The Senate is where legislation goes to die.

And plenty of Senators have already said they aren't on board with Trumpcare as is, in which case Ryan may just be going through the motions.  We'll see.


  1. Bullshit.

    You're an insomniac. The only "reason" you need to pull an all-nighter is "it's Tuesday."
    (Or, alternatively, McNulty and Jarvis are snoring or tossing and turning)