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No Skinny Love


As most of you know, the Republican Senate will vote on a “skinny repeal” of the ACA. This is terrible legislation that would probably cause most insurance exchanges to collapse. Some of the clowns who will vote for this are hoping that the House will not just vote for their bill but will go to conference (where it would presumably be made even worse.)

Everything about this process is disgraceful, and every one of the 50 senators who voted to proceed owns it fully no matter how much they piously complain about it (indeed, especially if they piously complain about it):

Nobody can tell exactly what Senate Republicans are doing with Americans’ health care, largely because they keep lying about it.

Five days ago, John McCain called on senators to pay more heed to governors’ words of caution about steep Medicaid cuts. Then he made a dramatic return to the Senate floor, denounced the entire process through which the Senate health care bill had been assembled, and then voted with leadership to continue the process. Nonetheless, he insisted that he opposed the underlying Better Care Reconciliation Act. But then when the BCRA came up for a vote, he voted for it, offering the excuse that the vote was procedural.

But if denouncing both the process by which a bill has been assembled and the substantive ideas it contains doesn’t lead you to vote against leadership on procedural matters, then what do your words even mean?

McCain is often an outlier among Republican senators. But in this instance, he’s being incredibly typical. Mitch McConnell is operating with a narrow Senate majority and basically zero margin for error ever since Susan Collins got off the BCRA bus. Objections to his approach are flying from virtually every direction of the caucus. Yet the health bill keeps shambling forward, since Republicans seem comfortable lying to the American people about essentially all aspects of the process, up to and including their own position on it.

That is the story of the health care process that has consumed the past several months in Congress: the almost unceasing parade of lies.

Read all of Matt’s piece — it’s really good. This has been a disgracefully dishonest and undemocratic process, and it’s not a coincidence that all of the legislative proposals are terrible and are massively unpopular. Trump becoming the Republican nominee is perfectly logical; congressional Republicans are no more capable of honest discourse and are no more serious about governing.

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  • The Lorax

    Yglesias has been fantastic the last year.

  • I watched a livestream of the presser given by Sens. McCain, Graham, Johnson, et al. Shorter: “we want to proceed to destroy 1/6 of the economy, but only if House Leadership double-pinky-promises that they will go into conference.”

    • aab84

      The interesting thing for me about all this is how hard the House is working to avoid giving those assurances. It’s pretty obvious Graham is looking for nothing more than an “oh, yeah, sure, we’ll totally do that.” But Ryan, moderates, even Meadows and HFC guys are all strongly indicating they’re just going to vote on what the Senate passes. I don’t know if they’re trying to sabotage the Senate bill, but that’s sort of what it looks like.

      • Right – it’s a strange dynamic and I don’t quite know what to make of it. To me, it sounded like Graham was begging the House to lie to him. In any case, they sounded like they want this maneuver to work. I’m sure it will work great — just like sequestration.

      • sigaba

        If the votes out an unamended repeal then they can credibly share blame with the senate for the consequences. If the House makes an assurance to the Senate then they are effectively taking ownership for any negative consequences.

        This is the mod squad trying to shift blame onto the HFC for the inevitable chaos, while also maintaining the claim that they’re for repeal. They’re asking the House to erase the consequences of their vote so they can vote with a clear conscience and blame any problems on the conference, which will almost certainly be a crazy hard-right shitshow.

    • MikeFurlan

      It will be subject to Animal House rules. The House will promise not to pass it, then of course they will. But with the explanation to the Senate; “You f*ucked up, you trusted us.”

      • Drew

        “Those assholes must have passed the wrong fucking bill.”

        • Hogan

          I hate when that happens.

  • AlexSaltzberg

    “Your essay is just a long string of insults towards your committee and appears to be covered in… I do not want to know.”

    “Yeah, I was hoping you could give me an extension.”

    “There is no due date. This is a self-guided class. I am merely here to pass on whatever paper you write to the various committees to determine if you graduate.”

    “Oh. Did you not see the sticky note on the front saying ‘Pls fix and mk perfect’? My TA promised me that it would work.”

  • JMP

    McCain is of course speaking out forcefully against the “skinny repeal” – while saying he’s going to vote for it. That’s his whole career in a nutshell. .

    • dmsilev

      And Chuck Todd et al. will praise his honest forthrightness etc.

  • keta

    Newly installed White House Communications Director Anthony “Da Mooch” Scaramucci has some thoughts on the so-called “skinny bill” vote:

    “This better get passed. Enough cock-blocking in the Senate. Enough of senators sucking their own cocks. Enough brand-building off the fucking strength of the president, a man I love and admire. If this doesn’t pass I will be contacting the FBI and the Department of Justice. Oh! And Reince Priebus can go fuck himself.”

    • Ash

      The terrifying thing about this is that I am not entirely sure it is satire.

  • We want to go through the ritual of repealing Obamacare without the consequences of repealing Obamacare and now that Obama is no longer there to veto our career-ending ritual, we’re going to repeal Obamacare but – and this is the clever bit – claim it we didn’t mean to.

    • sigaba

      They literally need the House to veto Obamacare repeal for them.

    • Hogan

      “Do you renounce ObamaCare and all its works and all its pomps?”

      “I do renounce. All hail ObamaCare.”

  • Ash

    Cassidy kind of shocked me with joining with “only skinny repeal if House pinky-promises to conference a more appealing measure” – I hadn’t really expected him to go even this far after he shamefully voted yes on everything else (despite claiming to be for expanded coverage and coverage of pre-existing conditions).

    Guess my next phone call to his office will be a combination thank you and suggestion that if the Senate wants a comprehensive measure that at least doesn’t harm anyone, they write it their damn selves.

    • Joe Paulson

      But, does it pass the Jimmy Kimmel test?

      • Ash


        Something something no skin off *his* nose…

  • Joe Paulson

    “McCain is often an outlier among Republican senators.”

    Is this required or something?

    • You think it’s easy to outlie a Republican senator???

      • Joe Paulson

        Well, I mean is that line required for pieces like this? Scott says the article is real good, but I’m told McCain isn’t really an outlier on average.

        But, didn’t take it that way, so shrugs.

    • Tom Till

      “McCain is often an outlier among Republican senators.”

      No, McCain’s just successfully convinced the press over the past 30 years that he’s often an outlier among Republican senators.

  • Yixing’s Fluffer

    McCain, Graham, Johnson: Don’t look at us! Mean ol’ Mark Meadows didn’t obstruct the way he was supposed to!

  • MariedeGournay

    John “Forked Tongue Express” McCain

  • Sentient AI From The Future

    More of a side note/observation, but I thought that
    1. “skinny” as a shorthand for skim milk (or maybe 1%?)* originated with coffeehouse lattes, even in particular Starbucks (though the meatbag doesnt actually go to coffeehouses that often, and actively avoids Starbucks)
    2. Arent liberals and leftists supposed to be the ones sipping lattes?

    * perhaps its to say they want to leave everything good for the 1%? I dunno.

  • alexceres

    The skinny repeal seems like a de facto nuclear option obliterating any meaning from the legislative filibuster

  • WinningerR

    Could some reporter somewhere please ask any of these dolts why they they think they need to pass something in order to confer with the House? Did McConnell lose Ryan’s phone number? What’s the difference between the formal conference process and McConnell and Ryan simply deciding to rally a few members of each chamber together to collaborate on something they can both pass? (Which of course, they’ll never manage.) That’s exactly the same thing that will happen if they go to conference, after all.

    The real aim of his vote isn’t to bring the House to the negotiating table–they could start that process any time–it’s a pathetic attempt by the GOP Senators to avoid catching the full blame if repeal fails. They’re willing to take a chance on the House crazies passing their “skinny repeal” into law and tanking the insurance market just to pass the buck and avoid the Kock Brothers’ ire. It’s truly astounding.

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