Republicans came into power with such hopes and dreams. Hopes and dreams about crushing the future of working people and handing over more money and power to the already wealthy and powerful, but we are talking about the goals Paul Ryan was meditating solemnly on as he did keg stands in college, here. And now … never count them out or underestimate their ruthlessness, but congressional Republicans have painted themselves into something of a corner:
It’s not just health care that Senate Republicans are hoping to get back on track after they return from their July 4 vacation. President Trump and Congress have a lot on their plate before their summer recess in August — raising the debt limit, passing a budget, moving on tax reform. It’s a daunting agenda during the best of times.
And this is not, to put it mildly, the best of times, what with a president who doesn’t know what’s going on and resets the agenda on a whim via Twitter, all while his team is under investigation for collusion with the foreign government that got him into office despite a popular vote loss. That’s the setting for Republicans to try to pass a wildly unpopular healthcare bill that they’ve already had to delay a vote on, and, as Ryan Lizza explains, everything else in their agenda may hinge on that, because “For obscure parliamentary reasons, Republicans can’t move on with the rest of their wish list until they pass the health-care bill.”
They planned to use one reconciliation bill for health care and a separate one for the beast of tax reform. But one of the many arcane rules about the reconciliation process is that any new reconciliation bill cancels out the old one. […]
If the Senate health-care bill dies and Republicans move on to tax reform, they will have an interesting choice to make: do they give up on health care and propose only a tax-reform bill? Or do they combine tax reform and health care into one monster bill, which would make passage even more daunting?