In it, but not of it. TPM DC

In a closed-door meeting in the House basement Wednesday with the whip team, a Republican rank-and-file member rose to convey his deep fear that Republicans were making a big mistake by repealing the Affordable Care Act without any concrete plan to replace it with.

According to one source in the room, the member rose and got the room's attention.

"You lose all leverage once you repeal this thing. There will be people on the left who will never help you replace it and there will be people on the right who aren't going to help you either," the member said. "We will own this thing and there will be consequences."

The focus in the House at the moment has been on how to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The goal is to have a repeal bill on President-elect Trump's desk by the end of February. Repealing Obamacare, after all, is what Republicans have been campaigning on for the last seven years. But the problem is that repealing Obamacare now and replacing it later could come with a myriad of policy and political baggage.

The House isn't the only place where members are sounding the alarm. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), whose own state expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, said earlier this week that Republicans will be making a mistake if they repeal the Affordable Care Act without replacing it at the same time.

The concern is that by moving rapidly to repeal President Obama's signature accomplishment, Democrats may never work with Republicans on a replacement. That could leave Republicans with two options, either they could change Senate rules and jam through their replacement or they will never get one.

While Republicans say they want a two- to three-year transition to protect people who have benefited from Obamacare from losing their insurance, health care experts have warned that even with a transition, a repeal bill without a clear replacement could lead the insurance market to devolve into chaos.

It's why some rank-and-file Republicans have been clear that they'd feel more comfortable if leadership had a strong plan in place before they ripped up the ACA.

Read More →

The Committee for a Responsible Budget, a deficit hawk group that advocates for cuts to social benefits programs, outlined the costs of dismantling the Affordable Care Act in a new report, finding that a full Obamacare repeal would cost the government $350 billion over 10 years.

The shot across the bow from deficit hawks adds further political complications to Obamacare repeal for Republicans, who already face a possible meltdown in the insurance markets and the loss of insurance by potentially millions of Americans, depending on how and when they replace Obamacare.

The report, released Wednesday, broke down the costs and savings of repealing various parts of the law, as well as the effect delaying the repeal would have on the deficit.

Read More →

Republicans in Congress kicked off their new session by taking the first steps toward repealing Obamacare.

The moves were mostly procedural and more-or-less expected, but they nonetheless signaled that GOP lawmakers intended to follow through on their promises last year to make dismantling the Affordable Care Act priority No. 1.

The first move, in the House, was the introduction of new chamber rules before Christmas and approved by the full body Tuesday, that included a special glide path for their Obamacare efforts. The second was a budget resolution introduced by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) Tuesday to jump-start the budgetary maneuver known as reconciliation, by which Republicans will be able to avoid a Democratic filibuster in the upper chamber.

Together the two moves reflect the complicated procedural path Republicans will have to navigate to get a repeal bill to the White House

Read More →

On Monday night, in a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill a handful of Republican members rose and told their stories about how the Office of Congressional Ethics had personally hurt them.

"Some really good people have been hurt," Rep. Peter King (R-NY) recounted later.

"One member talked about how ... it costs his staffer $30,000 and it cost him $60,000 and they did nothing wrong. They were found innocent, but at the end of the day, it cost," said Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA), describing the meeting. "Many felt very passionately about it especially those who were found to have done nothing wrong."

Read More →

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) hates Obamacare so much that he doesn't even want the Supreme Court to cite its own major Obamacare cases in future opinions, according to a bill he introduced Tuesday.

The bill itself list the names of major lawsuits the Affordable Care Act has faced at the Supreme Court and bars them "from citation for the purpose of precedence in all future cases."

Read More →

Facing scathing scrutiny after opening the 115th Congress with a secret midnight vote to gut the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, House Republicans on Tuesday abruptly withdrew the amendment before it could even go before the full chamber for a vote.

Bipartisan ethics watchdog groups led the charge, issuing blistering statements that attacked GOP lawmakers for undermining transparency and accountability in order to protect their own reputations.

“There has been such a backlash and so much tweeting and communication via public channels about this,” Viveca Novak of the Center for Responsive Politics told TPM. “They’re not just going to be able to ram it through with no repercussions.”

Read More →

After a fierce public backlash, the House GOP reversed course and withdrew the rules change that would have gutted the Office of Congressional Ethics, according to members who were present at the emergency GOP meeting mid-day Tuesday.

The amendment, put forward by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), that would have significantly hobbled the Office of Congressional Ethics was approved overwhelmingly by the GOP caucus Monday night in a closed-door meeting, but was meet with swift public outcry. The provision would have put the office under the control of the House Ethics Committee, reducing its independence, and would have blocked some of its other powers, including its abilities to accept anonymous tips and to report suspected crimes directly to law enforcement.

Read More →