#ncpol: GOP argues amongst itself on killing ObamaCare

They got their majorities in Washington on the promise to kill ObamaCare.  They got The White House too, based partially on the promise to kill ObamaCare. You’d figure the GOP — fully in the driver’s seat — would be going on a de-regulation and cutting spree.  

Yet, some of the fiercest debate on tossing ObamaCare is going on within the party placed in power and charged with the mission of slaying the O-Care beast.  Mark Meadows of North Carolina is the lead “negotiator” – -if you will — with the Republican House leaders on killing ObamaCare:

GOP lawmakers were told on a conference-wide call Saturday that they are getting closer to an agreement between centrists and conservatives that would allow legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare to pass the House. 

No deal is in place yet, however, though Republicans speaking on the call said there will be no vote until it’s certain the votes are there to pass the legislation. 

“The votes will drive the timing of this,” one Republican lawmaker on the call told The Hill.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told House Republicans that while healthcare is still a priority, the spending bill needed to avert a government shutdown will be the “primary focus” of the coming week, according to a GOP source on the call.

A timeline to pass a healthcare bill this week always seemed optimistic, but White House aides had been pressing for the possibility in the hopes of giving Trump a significant legislative achievement before next Saturday – his 100th day in office.

In a sign of the sensitivity of the talks, no questions were taken on the call. That’s a sign that leaders did not want additional information to leak out. 

Lawmakers also face a Friday deadline to keep the government open, which adds to the complexity of doing anything on healthcare.

Republicans are almost certain to need Democratic votes to move a government-funding bill through the House, and making a second effort to repeal ObamaCare on a party-line vote would be unlikely to make the shutdown talks easier.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Freylinghusen (R-N.Y.) briefed members on the spending bill, while House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) briefed on healthcare.

The healthcare deal is being negotiated between centrist Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) and conservative Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.).

That’s right.  REPUBLICANS are fiercely arguing amongst themselves on the fate of ObamaCare.  Instead of slamming Mark Meadows, voters need to praise him and his band of followers for actually trying to honor their and the party’s promises to the electorate. MORE: 

The agreement centers on giving states the ability to have waivers to repeal a ObamaCare regulation preventing people with pre-existing conditions from being charged more.

MacArthur told The Hill on Saturday that the language of the proposal is still being finalized.

“It’s almost achieving what I want, but a few areas need to be tightened up,” MacArthur said, citing concerns about ensuring minimum insurance coverage requirements are protected.

MacArthur said he’s been in contact with other Tuesday Group members over the two-week recess, but acknowledged he doesn’t know yet if the proposal will help the GOP’s healthcare bill get enough votes to pass.

“I don’t have a whip count,” MacArthur said, acknowledging some centrists still have concerns with the draft proposal that became public this week. At the same time, he said, “so far I’m optimistic that it might help to bridge the divide.”

The House doesn’t return until Tuesday evening and will have to pass legislation to keep the government open by Friday. That leaves little room for Republicans to try to whip up enough votes to revive the bill since GOP leaders canceled a vote on it last month.

An earlier bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare was pulled from a scheduled vote because of defections from both conservative and centrist GOP lawmakers.

Every House Democrat is expected to vote against the measure.

If this doesn’t make you ask “What’s the point of sticking with these $#%%& lying Republicans?”, take a gander at this from March: 

The two men who represent Western North Carolina in the U.S. House are likely to play important roles in the debate in Washington in the coming weeks over what to do about the Affordable Care Act.

For now, they are on opposite sides even though they are in the same political party.

Again, they both benefit from membership in the party that PLEDGED to kill ObamaCare.  MORE: 

[…] As chief deputy House whip, it is the job of Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-Lincoln, to round up votes for the House leadership’s replacement plan that was rolled out Monday.

As chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, Rep. Mark Meadows, a Republican who represents most of the region except for parts of Buncombe County, leads the group of House Republicans with the most misgivings about the plan.

The opinions of U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, both North Carolina Republicans, will also affect the outcome of the debate over the ACA, commonly called Obamacare. In fact, every Republican senator’s will. With 52 Republicans in the 100-member Senate, the GOP can’t get replacement legislation passed if many of its senators oppose it, and some Republican senators have already expressed serious concerns and the House proposal.

But, legislation has to get to the Senate first. It isn’t clear how that will happen if opposition from Freedom Caucus members continues. The group’s roughly 30 members are the House Republicans most in line with the tea party movement and Meadows is one of several who have raised concerns about the House Republican replacement plan.

Correction: “Most in line” with the promises the party made to the voters at election time. 

[…] In the likely event that all or nearly all House Democrats vote against the plan, it won’t pass unless at least some Freedom Caucus members back it. There are 237 House Republicans and it takes 218 to make up a majority of the House if all seats are filled — there are five vacancies at the moment — and everyone is present.

People don’t go into journalism because they like math, but Washington reporters have done their addition and subtraction and figured out how important the group Meadows heads is to the plan’s fate. He was a frequent presence on television and in news stories in the days after the replacement plan was released Monday.

He is not happy about putting the federal government on the hook for the tax credits for health insurance the plan contains, even though in many cases they are much less generous than the subsidies to buy insurance that people get now through the ACA.

“The problem is we’re not really repealing all of Obamacare,” he told RealClearPolitics. “If the average American looks at this they’re going to say, well, all you did was shift subsidies.”

“For a Republican, this looks like a new entitlement and has the potential to be the largest entitlement program that a Republican president has ever signed into law,” Meadows said.He and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., are calling for repealing the ACA now, then figuring out what should replace it.

Abso-freakin’ – lutely.  Pay attention, class.  THIS is what leadership looks like.  MORE: 

As a deputy whip, McHenry may be more focused on persuading other House members than he is on reaching the broader audiences of news organizations. In appearances on CNBC and CNN, he attempted to give the impression that passage of the House plan is inevitable.

“It’s all over except for the cussing and fighting,” he said on CNBC. “We’ve pledged to (repeal) for seven years, but that doesn’t mean we can’t give the media a little drama in the meantime.”

He told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that, “Almost every one of those Republicans criticizing this plan have in the past or are currently co-sponsors of legislation that uses tax credits to increase the affordability of health insurance. … They need to look in their own policy portfolio before criticizing what’s in this piece of legislation.”

“More will have to be done” on health insurance issues, McHenry said, but that will come after the House Republican plan becomes law. “We have the votes for this package. We will pass this package almost as it has been introduced, with some minor changes, and I think we’ll have this on the president’s desk in the next month … or three or four weeks.”