Congratulations, House Republicans! You did it. After seven years and more than five dozen failed votes, you finally passed a bill to repeal Obamacare. And by doing so, you handed President Trump something he so desperately wanted: a victory.
The president was so excited that he blew up his schedule so that he could fete the GOP members in the Rose Garden. By all the back-slapping and cheering, you’d think it was the final touchdown in the last second of the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl instead of the end of the first quarter that it really is.
Here’s a little reality checkup.
The controversial measure has only passed the House. It now goes to the Senate, where the prospects are not good. Before the House vote, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) tweeted his concern.
A bill — finalized yesterday, has not been scored, amendments not allowed, and 3 hours final debate — should be viewed with caution.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) May 4, 2017
Adding to the drama is the need to get 60 votes just to close debate on whatever the Senate comes up with. That means the 52-seat Republican majority is going to have to give something, lots of things, to Democrats just to get to 60. Lord knows what will happen once they have to vote for the actual measure.
Exhausted yet? Well, it’s not over.
That Senate bill — assuming they do one and pass it — will look completely different from the original House bill. The fight to reconcile the two versions and get a final bill passed on Trump’s desk promises to be epic. Democrats and advocacy groups will be fully mobilized to try to pull the plug on Trumpcare.
And on top of all of this — Congress must negotiate and pass a federal budget for 2018 AND raise the debt ceiling. Both must be done by the end of September or there will be a government shutdown, or the government will shut down because the economy collapsed due to a U.S. default on payments.
Knowing that, it makes the celebration at the Rose Garden seem like the carefree hours before the Titanic hit that iceberg. So, enjoy the celebration, folks, ’cause it might be the only one you’ll be having for a while.
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