By: Dr. Jake Baker - TapWires News Service
Numerous stories are now swirling about Capitol Hill that RyanCare is on life support and sinking. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have been painstakingly counting votes before tomorrow’s jam and cram to pass the Rename and Renege American Health Care Act. Additionally, White House has been saying confidently for weeks that they believe the bill will pass.
But there seems to be a fly in the ointment. According to a new report from left-wing POLITICO, the House Freedom Caucus has 25 members who are currently “no” votes on the healthcare bill. Unfortunately for the GOP leadership and the President who has stuck his neck out to support this bill, the Republicans can only afford to lose 21 votes which means if this number holds the bill is DOA.
A spokesman for the House Freedom Caucus said on Wednesday that more than 25 members of the caucus are opposed to the ObamaCare replacement bill. With all Democrats expected to vote against the plan it would take only 22 of the current 25 no votes to torpedo passage. However, the statement said that the 25 oppose the bill, but as we all well know, opposition and voting are sometimes not the same things when the pressure is on. The jarring announcement came despite direct appeals from Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and House Republican leaders. Obviously, this is an evolving story.
President Trump made his way to Capitol Hill yesterday to sell the legislation and warned members they are at risk of losing their seats if they vote no. While cajoling members is a long-standing tradition by both the White House and Congressional leadership, many current “No” votes are more concerned about enraging their constituents and facing them in an election than they are of the threats of Paul Ryan and Donald Trump.
Putting the best face possible on the Freedom Caucus announcement, Ryan appeared on Fox News Wednesday afternoon to both deny the 25 “no” vote claim and to sell the ideal that they have been adding caucus members to the “yes” column every day
"There's a claim there's 24 members against it, we're getting a lot of Freedom Caucus members to support this bill. We've been adding Freedom Caucus members all week," Ryan said during an interview with host Dana Perino. "We feel pretty good, though, we know we feel good at the end of the day here because members promised we would repeal and replace this disastrous and collapsing law which is what we are intent on doing."
"We're not losing votes, we're adding votes, and we feel like we're getting really close," Ryan continued, adding he has no plans to delay the vote scheduled for tomorrow. "The President has been a fantastic closer."
All the hype aside, this will be a cliffhanger right up to the very end. Neither Ryan or Trump has any illusions that this is a done deal. Conversely, Freedom Caucus leadership is undoubtedly lobbying just as hard to keep their members in the “no” column.
Whatever the vote there will still be confusion. If the bill fails or must be withdrawn and rewritten it will be a huge embarrassment for both Ryan and Trump. If it passes, the confusion is just beginning because the bill must then make it’s way through the tricky rules of the Senate where it will be condemned by Democrats and amended by Republicans. But the margins in the Senate for passage are razor then and already there are least five “no” votes. The Senate can only afford to lose two of those five if there is any hope for passage. If passed the inevitable amendments will send the bill to a conference committee where it is anyone’s guess what will be in the sausage coming out the other end.