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WashPost: Senate's Failure on Repeal Puts Push on Tax Overhaul

Image: WashPost: Senate's Failure on Repeal Puts Push on Tax Overhaul
(AP)

By    |   Saturday, 29 Jul 2017 02:12 PM

Friday morning's failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act is putting pressure on the Republican Party to push through a complex tax overhaul measure, while heading into the 2018 midterm elections that could flip control of the House and Senate back to the Democratic Party.

Lawmakers have not given up on the seven-year-long effort to undo Obamacare, reports The Washington Post, but with Friday's failure to push through a "skinny repeal" measure that would have stripped many mandates from the healthcare plan, incumbent lawmakers are left with accusations that they did not live up to the promises that got them elected.

“This is an epic failure by congressional Republicans,” Tim Phillips, president of the conservative Koch network group Americans for Prosperity, commented to The Post, "but it’s time to pivot to tax reform. There’s no time to pout.”

Lawmakers have agreed that they will need to return to Washington after Labor Day and make a push on the tax code, while many GOP agenda items have not yet been handled.

President Donald Trump, in a series of tweets early Saturday calling for the Senate to use a 51-vote majority vote when deciding bills, complained that "200 bills sit in the Senate."

“We’ve asked the voters for a lot,” said Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, who is planning a run for governor in his home state once his current term in the House is finished. "They’ve given us the House. They’ve given us the Senate. They’ve given us the presidency. It’s time to give them something back and get something done.”

Meanwhile, conservatives are angry at a handful of moderate senators who refused to vote for ACA repeal legislation this time around, when it was likely to pass, but voted for it in 2015, when the bill was rejected by then-President Barack Obama.

Sens. Dean Heller, R-Nevada; Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; Shelley Moore Capito, R-West Virginia; and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, all voted against the clean repeal measure this past week.

“That level of cynicism is breathtaking, even in the political world,” said Phillips.

Members of the House, though, continue to insist the repeal efforts have a chance. Speaker Paul Ryan admitted he was "disappointed and frustrated" after Friday's loss, and Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., who heads the House Freedom Caucus, said he has approached key senators and that a deal can still be reached.

Others are warning Republicans to put repeal efforts aside before they endanger other key agenda items, such as tax overhaul.

“You can let it destroy your entire agenda, and your entire party as a result of inaction by continuing to dwell on something that, frankly, they’ve proven unable to do," said GOP strategist Josh Holmes, a former chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. "Quarantine it."

Friday's vote won't likely impact the three GOP senators who said "no" to the repeal proposal. Sen. John McCain, of Arizona, is facing an aggressive form of brain cancer. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is next up for election in 2020, and is considering a run for the Maine governor's seat next year, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is at the beginning of a six-year-term in office. 

Heller, meanwhile, has opened himself up to a primary challenge, said Adam Brandon, president of the conservative activist group FreedomWorks who asked which constituency the lawmaker was serving "by bending over backwards to save Medicaid expansion."

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Friday morning's failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act is putting pressure on the Republican Party to push through a complex tax overhaul measure, while heading into the 2018 midterm elections that could flip control of the House and Senate back to the Democratic Party.
senate, failure, tax, overhaul
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2017-12-29
Saturday, 29 Jul 2017 02:12 PM
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