One unifying goal for the Republican Party over the past seven years has been the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, but now that the GOP controls Congress and the White House, it seems the party can't agree on what to do next. With fissures between Republican moderates and various conservative factions growing wider as GOP lawmakers return from the Presidents' Day recess, where several of them got an earful from constituents, GOP leaders have come up with a new plan, The Wall Street Journal reports: "Set a bill in motion and gamble that fellow GOP lawmakers won't dare to block it."
The new push to repeal and replace ObamaCare in three stages begins this week, premised on an acknowledgment that there is no plan that will get a comfortable majority in either chamber. Assuming no Democrats back the repeal bill, Republicans can lose two senators and 22 House members, giving really any GOP faction de facto veto power. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are going to gamble on the "now or never" gambit anyway, WSJ reports, "because their entire domestic policy agenda, including a highly prized tax overhaul, rests on the health care maneuver paying off first."
Some GOP strategists even see this high-stakes gamble as an asset, because McConnell and Ryan could hang ObamaCare on any faction that tries to block the bill. "You're a Republican, you've been running to repeal ObamaCare, they put a repeal bill in front of you," said GOP health policy adviser Doug Badger. "Are you going to be the Republican senator who prevents ObamaCare repeal from being sent to a Republican president who is willing to sign it?" A lot rests on the answer to that question, though any "replace" effort needs support from Democrats to pass. You can read more about the GOP leadership's high-wire act at The Wall Street Journal. Peter Weber