When policy means nothing 

In theory, Senate Republicans will vote on health care policy today even thought they don’t even know what they’ll be voting for.  Seriously!!  This is so nuts.  This is so irresponsible.  Paul Waldman:

Tomorrow, the Senate is set to vote on a Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. What Republican bill? The senators themselves don’t even know. Here’s how Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) described it yesterday on “Face the Nation“:

It appears that we will have a vote on Tuesday. But we don’t whether we’re going to be voting on the House bill, the first version of the Senate bill, the second version of the Senate bill, a new version of the Senate bill, or a 2015 bill that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act now, and then said that somehow we will figure out a replacement over the next two years.

I’ve often argued that Republicans in Congress aren’t serious about policy, but this is taking their unseriousness to the level of farce. After complaining for years that the ACA was “rammed through” Congress — in a process that involved a full year of debate, dozens of hearings in both houses and 188Republican amendments to the bill debated and accepted — they’re going to vote on a sweeping bill that had zero hearings and that they saw only hours before, because who cares what’s in it? It’s only the fate of the country at stake. If taking away health-care coverage from 20 million or 30 million Americans is what it takes to stave off a primary challenge from some nutball tea partier, then that’s what they’ll do…

Instead, what they say is, “We made a promise, and we’re going to keep it.” If Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) handed them a bill saying that all children on Medicaid would be taken to the desert, buried up to their necks in the sand, and covered in fire ants, at least 40 of them would say, “It may not be perfect, but we have to keep the promise we made to repeal Obamacare, so I’m voting yes.” [emphases mine]

Chait, also, lets loose:

One of the most powerful indictments of the Republican health-care strategy is that, after its plan underwent large, involuntary revisions Friday evening, party leaders did not even pause. In case you missed this news, which my colleague Ed Kilgore summarized, the Senate parliamentarian ruled out of order numerous elements of the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. Some of the rescinded elements, like a ban on funding for insurance covering abortion, are ancillary to the bill’s major purpose. Others are central: The bill’s idea to replace the individual mandate, a six-month lockout period, is now scrapped.

Any remotely conscientious governing party, faced with a setback on this scale, would take a few weeks, or at least a few days, to develop a fallback design. Instead they are plunging ahead, on schedule. There is probably no example in American history of Congress and a president attempting to pass major social legislation on this scale with such manifest disregard for its design and effect. It is the domestic equivalent of invading Iraq without a plan for the occupation.

Honestly, I think that’s actually be unfair to the GWB administration.

Anyway, both posts are worth reading in full.  In a remotely serious democracy, Republicans would be severely punished for behaving so incredibly cavalierly with the American economy and millions and millions of lives.  Alas, the Republicans have taught us we are not a remotely serious democracy at the moment.



About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

3 Responses to When policy means nothing 

  1. pino says:

    even thought they don’t even know what they’ll be voting for. Seriously!! This is so nuts.

    It IS nuts. What I find entertaining is the outrage from the left in this case vs the same phenomenon when the dems passed Obamacare 8 years ago.

    • Steve Greene says:

      Oh come on! I really thought you were too smart for that. Seriously? To compare this process with the ACA is honestly is either as 1) ignorant or 2) intellectually dishonest as you can get. ACA was debated in the wide open for months and months.

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