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The Further Adventures of Paul Ryan, Policy Wonk of Seriousity



TrumpCare represents the absolute state-of-the-art in Republican policymaking. That is, it involves using a farcically slapdash process to try to attain reprehensible substantive ends:

In an effort to blunt the disastrous impact of the American Health Care Act on older Americans, House Republican leaders are adding a provision that would set aside $75 billion to do … something unspecified.

Really. According to Politico, the new version of the bill will not say at all what to do with the $75 billion. Instead it will just “instruct the Senate” to come up with a plan to use the money to help people between the ages of 50 and 64.

This is a very unusual way to legislate and reflects House Republicans’ desperation to pass basically anything as soon as possible and pass the buck to the Senate.


But Paul Ryan is determined to have the House vote on this bill on Thursday, which means they don’t have time for any big rethink or prolonged negotiation. So what they’ve come up with instead is, apparently, this $75 billion magic asterisk. The House will pass a bill with what amounts to a blank spot, and then members can say they repealed Obamacare and toss the hot potato of working out the details to their colleagues in the Senate.

The Heritage Uncertainty Principle strikes again!

A bunch of fanatics led by a guy who’s the ultimate example that any conservative white guy who wears a suit and can complete sentences without drooling will be taken seriously producing a pathetic quasi-bill — it was hard to see this coming! The optimistic take is that having passed a useless bill that can be sold as ‘Repealing Obamacare” the House will consider its work done and let the whole thing fall apart. The attempts to blame McConnell — who, unlike Ryan, whatever his faults is a very able legislative mechanic and not just a bullshit artist “policy entrepreneur” — will be hilarious if that happens. But precisely because McConnell is competent we can’t consider TrumpCare dead yet.

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