by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., aims to send a message to the Republicans he leads: After four elections and seven years of promising to repeal Obamacare, it’s time to choose.
That’s why, knowing full well the votes weren’t there, McConnell switched from the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which would partially repeal and replace Obamacare, to the straight-repeal legislation that Senate Republicans approved in 2015, when President Barack Obama was still around to veto it.
McConnell couldn’t round up the 50 out of 52 available Republican votes he needed to pass BCRA. The bill collapsed amid complaints about a leadership-driven legislative process and philosophical differences among conservatives and centrists about what to do with Medicaid.
But the majority leader essentially thinks Republicans are making excuses.
To teach them a lesson about governing, and smoke out exactly where various members stand on Obamacare repeal, McConnell is forcing a tough vote on a bill that’s likely doomed — an unusual move for a political operator who always has his eye on the next election.