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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Only 17 Percent of Public Supports Republican ACA Repeal Bill As House Votes Today

Republicans are bracing for a major defeat of their ‘repeal and replace’ health care bill today, and their loss is more likely to be greeted with public cheers than expressions of regret.  In their New York Times article, “Trump Tells G.O.P. It’s Now or Never, Demanding House Vote on Health Bill,” Julie Hirschfield Davis, Robert Pear and Thomas Kaplan note,

Quinnipiac University national poll found that voters disapproved of the Republican plan by lopsided margins, with 56 percent opposed, 17 percent supportive and 26 percent undecided. The measure did not even draw support among a majority of Republicans; 41 percent approved, while 24 percent were opposed.

That is an absolutely pathetic number, considering all of the time Republicans have had to fashion a ‘repeal and replace’ bill. It is a number that calls into question, not only the political skills of Trump, Ryan and other GOP leaders, but also their common sense, for having manuevered themselves into such an embarrassing spotlight. Really, guys, that’s the best you can do with with GOP control of the White House, U.S. Senate and House?

Trump’s threat to move away from supporting Obamacare repeal is not likely to be all that much of a concern since his approval rating is at 37 percent in the Quinnipiac poll. As Elliot Hannon writes at Slate.com,

If it feels, to you, like Donald Trump is doing a terrible job as president—you’re not alone. Recent polls have shown the president’s support cratering to historic lows, and a new Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday confirmed Trump’s unpopularity. Trump’s job approval rating stands at 37 percent with a whopping 56 percent of Americans disapproving of the job Trump’s doing. By comparison, nearly two-thirds of Americans approved of Barack Obama at a similar stage, and George W. Bush had an approval rating nearing 60 percent, while roughly 1-in-4 Americans disapproved of the former presidents two months into their first terms.

Then there is the issue of Trump’s credibilty, his pattern of saying anything, often to reverse himself in days, if not hours. For that same reason, Democrats should not expect that he will necessarily abandon the ‘repeal and replace’ effort just because he said so.

It is possible that Speaker Ryan will secure a narrow majority at the last minute, but it is increasingly unlikely. Even if he does pass it in the House, however, the bill faces even stronger opposition in the U.S. Senate. As Heather Caygle and Elana Schor note at Politico, “House Democrats think GOP leaders in the Senate will have a much harder time changing the bill to appease tepid Republican senators.” The authors quote House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer, who observes, “I am as positive as I can be … that Speaker Ryan does not believe this bill will pass the Senate.”

At The Fix Amber Phillips writes in her post, “There are still enough House Republicans opposed to the health-care bill to kill it,” that “Assuming no Democrats support the measure, Republicans can lose two votes in the Senate and 22 votes in the House. As of Thursday night, here’s how many Republicans have said that they’ll vote against it: 34 House members; 6 senators. Other GOP lawmakers still have serious concerns about the legislation or said they are leaning against it. We count 15 House members, 16 senators.”

All in all, it looks like today could be a disaster for Republicans, as they marinate in an unholy stew of threats, insults, whining, excuses, finger-pointing, lies and betrayals, and that’s before the vote count that reveals their party as politically bankrupt. Of course the irony is that Obamacare was their best hope for delaying the public option all along. The GOP’s showcasing the intellectual, moral and political bankruptcy of their health care policy may end up hastening the day when the public option becomes a reality.

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