Jun. 26th, 2017

My tweets

Jun. 26th, 2017 12:00 pm
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  • Sun, 21:14: RT @BernieSanders: Here's a crazy idea: We should join the rest of the world and guarantee health care to all, rather than take it away fro…
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Republican senators’ fear is the only thing that will defeat this bill — and their fear is dependent on the volume and intensity of opposition. The whole point of Mitch McConnell’s strategy of writing the bill in secret and then quickly pushing it through is to minimize public attention and opposition. There are senators who right now are what we might consider “worried maybe” votes — they’ll vote yes if the risks don’t seem too great, but they could bail out if they can be made to fear a public backlash. Senators like Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia know that their states will be absolutely brutalized by this bill, but as of yet they haven’t been convinced that their constituents know that.
 

There are now 10 Republican senators who have either said they oppose the bill “in this form” — which means they could switch to support once some changes are made — or have publicly expressed their doubts about the bill without saying they oppose it. Today, Republicans released a revised bill addressing some of their concerns; it includes a provision locking people out of coverage for six months if they go without insurance temporarily, which is supposed to accomplish the same goal as the individual mandate. But the bill’s essence remains the same. Only if media attention to the bill’s horrors increases, and if the calls pour in to their offices, will they decide that the risks to themselves are too great.

 
 

There could be a tipping point at which Republicans start abandoning the bill en masse — but we aren’t nearly there. With a 52-48 majority, McConnell can only lose two votes on this bill, and he has probably already granted one to Heller, giving him permission to vote “no” in order to save his own skin. But if pressure increases and two more senators look like hard “no” votes, then you’ll probably see lots of senators abandon it, not wanting to be associated with something that was not only so substantively awful but also carries the stench of defeat. That will only happen, though, if they’re sure that the bill is headed for defeat. And that in turn depends on activists and constituents raising the stakes high enough to make supporting the bill seem incredibly dangerous.

 
 

It’s possible that the release of the CBO score of the bill — which could come as early as this afternoon — will be the event that focuses everyone’s attention on the bill’s consequences and elevates the volume of the debate to the point where senators can’t avoid the consequences of their decision. But that will only happen if those consequences are made undeniably clear to them.


- Will the GOP’s awful health bill pass? Here’s what you need to know.
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