It has now been almost two weeks since the target date set by Congress to submit a plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. They have done exactly nothing (except dodge their constituents), and they are not talking about it.
Republicans have definitively said that they are going to repeal President Obama's landmark healthcare law as quickly as possible under the new administration. In January, the GOP-controlled House and Senate appeared to make good on that promise by easily agreeing to a resolution to repeal Obamacare via budget reconciliation.
The only problem? They missed their own deadline.
Section 2001(c) of the budget resolution states:
SUBMISSIONS.—In the Senate, not later than January 27, 2017, the Committees named in subsections (a) and (b) shall submit their recommendations to the Committee on the Budget of the Senate. Upon receiving all such recommendations, the Committee on the Budget of the Senate shall report to the Senate a reconciliation bill carrying out all such recommendations without any substantive revision.
Section 2002(c) lays out almost identical guidelines for the House:
SUBMISSIONS.—In the House of Representatives, not later than January 27, 2017, the committees named in subsections (a) and (b) shall submit their recommendations to the Committee on the Budget of the House of Representatives to carry out this section.
The New York Times reports that neither chamber of Congress has submitted any recommendations on the Affordable Care Act, nearly two weeks after this deadline has passed.
Even Donald Trump has not offered Congress a vote of confidence, stating in an interview with Bill O'Reilly that he thinks the repeal process could stretch on until 2018.
Congress has long been more on edge about repealing Obamacare than leadership is letting on. In January, House Republicans quietly passed a rule exempting ACA repeal from some of the usual budget calculations from the Congressional Budget Office, potentially obfuscating just how much it will cost taxpayers.
— Citizen Action IL (@CitizenActionIL) February 4, 2017
The public mood has clearly turned against Republicans on healthcare. Recent polls show only 1 in 5 Americans want Obamacare fully repealed, and Republicans are struggling to justify their desperation to strip health insurance from 18 million people. The failure of the House and Senate to even meet their own requirements for drafting a plan is simply the latest embarrassment.