I mentioned the two likely possibilities today are that the Obamacare repeal bill barely passes or fails by a lot. The third possibility, not to be ruled out, is that in the face of an overwhelming defeat, Ryan might pull the bill. That's contrary to the big talk from the White House that the negotiating is over and it's time to vote. But letting a major bill go down to stunning defeat is not in the normal Speaker playbook. With the votes apparently not there, Ryan is heading to the White House to talk to President Trump.
If you looked at a map showing which states lost the most manufacturing jobs since 2000, you would discover that many of these are states that Hillary Clinton expected to win in November 2016, but that Donald Trump carried. For instance, the two states that lost the greatest percentage of manufacturing jobs were Michigan and North Carolina. To voters in these states, Trump had a simple message: manufacturing matters (and had made America great), and he would protect what still existed and bring back the jobs that had left.
It's been very difficult for a number of days to see how Paul Ryan cobbles together enough votes to pass this mess of a bill. But my touchstone has been, logic and math aside, that the GOP simply cannot afford to let Obamacare repeal die. That scale of a political flop on such an important issue this early in the new era of GOP-unified government would be a catastrophe that no party would willingly endure. But the numbers are the numbers. You have to have the votes. And right now it's not at all clear that they do.
This abomination of a bill only got worse with last night's changes, approved this morning by the House Rules Committee. Remember: The CBO won't even have time to score what the House will be voting on this afternoon. It's one of the starker ironies that virtually everything Republicans ever falsely accused Democrats of doing to jam the ACA through is now actually happening. Alice Ollstein and Tierney Sneed give you the quick rundown.
A very strange day in Washington as Republicans failed, as they have for seven years, to come up with a viable alternative to Obamacare.
The nugget that probably best captures the day came from the Congressional Budget Office. It assessed the most recent version of the bill and concluded that it will still take coverage away from 24 million people, just like the original version of the bill, but will cost an additional $186 billion to do so.
Let me say that again: The revised bill spends $186 billion more to not cover the same number of people. What a win!
Keep that in mind as the House proceeds to vote on an even newer version of the bill Friday, that still hasn't been released, and that the CBO will not be given time to score in advance.
White House demands vote Friday on Obamacare repeal, come hell or high water. No CBO score. Still no bill! But from what we know of it, it's an objectively terrible piece of legislation, whether you're a purveyor of sane health care policy or a conservative looking for ideological purity. Ryan is going along with the Trump plan to ram it through. Do Republicans have the votes? Our latest dispatch after a long evening on the Hill.