News broke Monday, via Twitter, that U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, has announced she’s voting no on Graham-Cassidy, the latest Frankenstein bill to repeal and replace Obamacare that Republicans are trying pass before the federal fiscal year ends on Sept. 30.
When the sun rises on Oct. 1, the first day of the next fiscal year in Washington, reconciliation rules that only required a simple majority to pass a spending bill will have expired, forcing Republicans to corral 60 votes instead of just 50.
After the Congressional Budget Office confirmed that “millions” would lose their health care under the Graham-Cassidy repeal bill, Collins made her decision:
“Health care is a deeply personal, complex issue that affects every single one of us and one-sixth of the American economy. Sweeping reforms to our health care system and to Medicaid can’t be done well in a compressed time frame, especially when the actual bill is a moving target. Today, we find out that there is now a fourth version of the Graham-Cassidy proposal, which is as deeply flawed as the previous iterations. The fact that a new version of this bill was released the very week we are supposed to vote compounds the problem.”
Before Collins joined the small crowd of GOP no voters, which so far includes Arizona U.S. Sen. John McCain, Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and maybe even Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of all people, the realization that fairy tale carriages will turn into Halloween pumpkins for Republicans was pushing big deals for her and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, each of whom voted against the last bill that lost by a single vote.
If Collins or Murkowski took the bait and fell in line to vote yes, they could give Congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump the big win they’re so hunger for.
“This is simply not the way that we should be approaching an important and complex issue that must be handled thoughtfully and fairly for all Americans,” Collins concluded.
Meanwhile, all 48 U.S. Senate Democrats, including Ohio’s own U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, are voting no on the bill. Republicans need 50 votes, half of all senators, so Vice President Mike Pence can break the tie and win the day for Republicans, who think delivering on their election promise to kill the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) if elected is a point of pride voters will reward them for.
Who in their right mind would reward anyone for fulfilling a promise to dole out a tablespoon of poison if elected? Only an alt-right-minded dotard like Trump or a mentally ill person like Texas Republican U.S. Rep. Louie Gomert would think delivering on that promise is good policy.
Is Portman Waiting For Cover?
Ohio Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman voted yes on the last bill, and has so far shown his cowardice by refusing to say what he will do with Graham-Cassidy. He said previously that he would make up his mind based on whether the bill was good for Ohio.
The last bill was terrible for Ohio, but that didn’t stop Portman from voting yes. So why would the senator one sycophantic Buzzfeed reporter calls “Midwest nice, a little old-fashioned, and in possession of deep wells of knowledge about taxes, trade, and health care,” vote yes for the next new monstrosity that would devastate his state?
Commonsense has informed Brown, 47 other Senate Democrats, and now Collins to vote no. So what’s “commonsense conservative” Rob Portman waiting for this time? Even his political buddy, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is angling to return to TV work after he leaves office, has joined other governors in urging Congress to turn down attempts to shatter Medicaid, since it’s done so much good for so many Ohioans.
If Portman is waiting for the smoke to clear to see if enough of his GOP colleagues are voting no that would effectively kill the bill so he can blend into the crowd, after joining the yes to killing-the-ACA crowd not too long ago, his cowardice ought to inform voters that they elected a multi-millionaire dope last year who really has no clue what’s good for them.
When Portman plays patty cake with Trump, as he did last year when he endorsed the big orange machine then maintained his distance from the Donald throughout the campaign season, he is guilty of what James Fallows writing at The Atlantic calls Republicans’ “carnage of this era.”
“The greatest responsibility for Trump’s rise lay not with the man himself – he is who he is, he can’t help it – but with those Republicans who know what he is, and continue to look the other way. Their responsibility for the carnage of this era increases by the day, and has grown by quite a lot this weekend.”
For millions of people in Ohio who depend on Medicaid in one way or another, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. For Ohio media that endorsed Portman over former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland last year, and for reporters with their heads stuck up Portman’s backside, what Rob Portman is giving Buckeyes to eat, if he votes yes again, will make his constituents sick and maybe kill them.