The Republican Base Doesn’t Want to Hear About Reconciliation

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Wesley Smith has a question about the Republican health care plan:

I am wondering why opponents haven’t conceded a big point Speaker Ryan has asserted in defending his three-stage approach: A full repeal would require 60 votes in the Senate because it would be subject to the filibuster…Hence, understanding that the contents of the first phase can be debated, if Obamacare is going to be defanged, doesn’t Ryan’s three-stage approach make complete sense?

Of course Ryan is right. Everyone should concede that. So why haven’t they?

Answer: Because for seven years Republicans have been telling everyone who will listen that if they get into power they’ll repeal Obamacare, full stop. They never said “most of it” or “just the parts we can repeal via reconciliation.” Just the opposite: They used the most thunderous, uncompromising language possible. Obamacare was a cancer that needed to be fully excised. And they’d do it.

Something on the order of 1 percent of voters understand filibusters and reconciliation, and Republicans were very careful never to mention those things. So that means 99 percent of Republican voters think Obamacare can be fully repealed if only the GOP leadership has the guts to do it. This is now causing problems for Ryan, but he has only himself to blame. He said he’d repeal Obamacare, and now the Republican base wants him to do it. All this yakking about reconciliation and three-phase plans sounds like nothing more than yet another sellout.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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