This week, Congress met for its 115th session, which saw House Republicans by vote to repeal the Congressional Ethics Office. This conjured up plenty of outrage, and the House GOP has since (somewhat) shamefacedly pulled the proposal. Yet over in the Senate, Republicans are dashing forward with new initiatives, the most dramatic of which involves doing away with Obamacare and replacing it with, well, something else. There aren’t too many concrete details on the replacement yet, but that doesn’t seem to matter as much as booting the predecessor.
So, Tuesday saw the emboldened GOP laid the groundwork to dismantle the Affordable Healthcare Act. In doing so, the Senate introduced a bill that, if passed, will allow Congress to repeal Obamacare with one simple majority vote. And on Wednesday, Vice President-elect Mike Pence met with GOP lawmakers behind closed doors. He then told reporters that Congress will honor Donald Trump’s campaign promise to repeal Obamacare, and he accused Democrats of breaking promises:
“Make no mistake about it. We’re going to keep our promise to the American people — we’re going to repeal Obamacare and replace it with solutions that lower the cost of health insurance without growing the size of government … The reality is that I was here in March of 2010 [as a congressman] when Obamacare was signed into law. I remember all those promises. We were told that if you like your doctor, you can keep it. Not true.”
Pence and Paul Ryan both reportedly reassured reporters that straight-up repealing Obamacare won’t leave people with preexisting conditions in the lurch. This is one of the aspects of the Affordable Healthcare Act that Trump admitted to “very much” liking, although we’ll see how this plays out.
In the meantime, President Obama also spoke to Democrats behind closed doors. He reportedly told them, “Don’t rescue” Republicans by helping them pass an Obamacare replacement. And interestingly enough, he told them to begin verbally referring to this future plan as “Trumpcare.” The mood among the Democrats, according to one member of Congress, is “fired up.” However, the House and Senate are GOP-led at this point, so it’s going to be a matter of numbers for most issues, especially here at the beginning when Republicans are feeling confident.
Obama also told his fellow Democrats that he’d love to be a member of Congress at this moment in history: “In two weeks, I will no longer be a politician, but I’ll still be a citizen. I envy you so much right now, because I would love to be on the field.” He’s challenging them to keep his legacy alive, or at least, to not let his signature healthcare plan go down without a fight.