Before the vote even happens, Trumpcare is locked in a death spiral. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) just rushed to the White House to inform President Trump that the House doesn’t have enough votes to pass their Obamacare repeal and replace bill.
With the defection of Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA), passage of the bill in an open House vote is nigh impossible. Earlier this morning, Trump issued an ultimatum to the House Freedom Caucus – pass this bill, or he’ll abandon the issue entirely.
The notoriously stubborn Freedom Caucus evidently did not take well to that threat, as the New York Times still reports that 33 representatives are committed to voting against the bill, 9 leaning against, and 45 still undecided. 22 defection will sink the bill.
Paul Ryan found no comfort at the White House, however. Budget Director Mulvaney told Ryan that the President “doesn’t care. The president wants a vote” and that the White House was done negotiating.
— Major Garrett (@MajorCBS) March 24, 2017
Trump’s insistence on a floor vote is an obvious effort to hang this utter debacle around Paul Ryan’s neck and a cheap attempt to wash his hands of the whole affair. It also speaks as to Trump’s utter disinterest in the details of policy or the fulfillment of his campaign promises – all he cares about is to be publicly seen as “winning” or at the very least having not lost.
When the vote does reach the floor of the House, we can expect the small pool of Republican defections to turn into a flood as swing state Republicans and those up for election quickly try to distance themselves from this appalling piece of legislation.
“I’m starting to think that while we’re pretty good at winning elections, we’re not great at the whole governing thing” admitted an anonymous GOP aide in an enormous understatement. It is truly remarkable how quickly they’ve driven the “Trump Train” off the proverbial cliff.
The Republican Party had a jolly old time obstructing everything that President Obama did and shouting themselves hoarse about how horrible Obamacare was for the past eight years. They were exuberant, smug and supremely arrogant directly after the election, openly about their intentions to gut the social safety net and deprive 24 million people of their health insurance.
Now they are tripping over themselves in their first big test, sabotaged by an uninterested White House and hamstrung by the extremism they freely cultivated over the past eight years. They’ve been running on this for seven years now, and miserable, abject failure at their own hands is all they have to show for it.
The vote on the House Floor will take place at 3:30 Eastern, and it is almost certain to be defeated.
There is glorious schadenfreude to be found in the coming public humiliation of Speaker Paul Ryan, who has sadistically campaigned relentlessly for years to plunge millions of American into poverty and turn every public institution that we hold dear into a for-profit enterprise.
This defeat is going to have repercussions that will echo for months and puts the GOP’s entire agenda in quiestion – and with the looming threat of the investigation of the Trump-Russia collusion still hanging over their heads, it’s going to be a very interesting couple of months.
This could be the beginning of the end of the Republican Party as we know it.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.