Tom Cotton made a very interesting point on the Hugh Hewitt Show about the three step process of the Obamacare replacement that’s being touted by the GOP leadership. Cotton says there is no three-step plan, that it’s really just political talk and spin.
HH: So what can be done? I’ve talked to the Speaker, I’ve got to the Leader. I’ve talked to Cathy McMorris Rodgers is on today, Mick Mulvaney, Tom Price. They all say it’s a three-step dance because of the Senate reconciliation rule. So you know those rules. Working within the rules, how can the Senate improve its bill, or how can the House send to the Senate a bill that fits within the guardrails of reconciliation and allows for 51 votes that improves the individual market?
TC: Hugh, there is no three-phase process. There is no three-step plan. That is just political talk. It’s just politicians engaging in spin. This is why. Step one is a bill that can pass with 51 votes in the Senate. That’s what we’re working on right now. Step two, as yet unwritten regulations by Tom Price, which is going to be subject to court challenge, and therefore, perhaps the whims of the most liberal judge in America. But step three, some mythical legislation in the future that is going to garner Democratic support and help us get over 60 votes in the Senate. If we had those Democratic votes, we wouldn’t need three steps. We would just be doing that right now on this legislation altogether. That’s why it’s so important that we get this legislation right, because there is no step three. And step two is not completely under our control.
Cotton is basically saying that step one of this plan is all we’ve got because nothing else is guaranteed. I love how he characterizes step three as “some mythical legislation in the future that is going to garner Democratic support and help us get over 60 votes in the Senate”. I’ve been wondering about that myself. How in the world will we get 60 Senators to vote on competition across state lines and other necessary policies to make healthcare more affordable?
Cotton is right, it’s not going to happen. There’s no way Democrats will vote for anything that repeals and replaces Obamacare.
As he says later in the interview, “there is not going to be phase three legislation. It’s phase one and done.”
You can read the full interview here.