GOP plan to destroy health care collapses in disarray, humiliating Trump


As the pressure mounts around their disastrous health care bill, the dissent and infighting among Republican senators is putting the utter disarray of their party on full display.

As opposition from the public against the callous health care repeal plan grows louder, the Republican Party is fraying at the seams. And the tension is increasingly on embarrassing display.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was already in a precarious situation. Since he is jamming the bill through, with no hearings and no input from a single Democratic senator, via the reconciliation process, he only needed 50 votes to pass it.

But with only 52 Republicans in the Senate, and both Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky already out against the bill, there was no room for error.

And then this happened:

That brings the total to four GOP senators abandoning the bill, with a fifth — Ron Johnson of Wisconsin — hinting at similar desertion. Johnson recently accused McConnell of a "real breach of trust" for privately telling some of their colleagues that the proposed cap to Medicaid spending contained in the bill may not actually take effect.

In McConnell's corner, though, is Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, who blithely dismissed the need for public hearings on the bill.

"I don’t think there’s any need for that when the bill is public. It’s available to everyone to see, as people have not been shy about commenting on it," Toomey said.

This public disarray is only adding to the evidence that the GOP cannot get its act, or even its messaging, together on what was supposed to be their signature issue under Donald Trump.

After Arizona Sen. John McCain had to leave Washington last Friday for surgery to remove a blood clot, McConnell stated that a vote on the repeal bill would not take place until McCain returned to work. But McCain's condition was more serious than originally thought, and his recovery may take at least a few weeks.

With things looking bleak, Trump took a break from golfing and disrespecting wounded veterans to tweet his characteristically simple opinion:

In a show of desperation, McConnell is taking Trump's suggestion, at least in part: He now wants to vote on a full repeal of Obamacare, with a two-year delay to give Republicans more time to figure out how to actually implement their disastrous plans.

But Trump's conviction that "Dems will join in" would necessitate McConnell actually inviting them to the table, something that Connecticut Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy told Rachel Maddow Monday night has not actually happened yet:

MADDOW: Given their current struggle to whip votes, given the fact that they cannot seem to get this thing passed, at least not yet with votes from members of their own party, has there now been any effort by Mitch McConnell, by the Republican leadership, by any of your colleagues, to try to get any Democratic votes? Have they changed their mind on that, or are they still trying to do it purely with Republicans?

MURPHY: So, what a political gift this would be to Democrats if they continue to do this in a way that ultimately secured only Republican votes. I mean, there's only political upside to Democrats. But we're actually sincere, Rachel, in saying that we hope that they come and talk to us. Now, they've got to jettison the tax cuts and the gutting of Medicaid, but we will talk to them about some of their concerns about flexibility if they will give us some long-term guarantee that these exchanges will be solvent and strong.

And wouldn't it be great for health care to stop being a political football that gets tossed from one side to the other every five to ten years? I don't know that Mitch McConnell thinks that we're sincere, because it's such an easy political cudgel for us to use, but we are. The answer is no, they haven't reached out to us. But it would be to their political benefit, and to the country's policy benefit, if they actually took us up on the offer.

Even before the frenzied war of tweets Monday night, the GOP was descending into bickering and chaos. Meanwhile, their own voters are increasingly opposed to the plan Republicans are trying to force on them.

By Tuesday morning, Trump had decided to blame Democrats "and a few Republicans" for McConnell's failure to get his own party to support this disastrous bill, and to at the same time claim this was his plan all along.

Apparently, taking health care away from millions isn't as easy as certain people thought it would be.