Republican leadership fumbling Obamacare repeal, as usual

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Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell turns to Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX after speaking to reporters after the Republican party policy luncheon in the Capitol in Washington September 16, 2014.  At left is Sen. John Barasso, R-WY. The U.S. House of Represe

The face of failure.

Total ineptitude isn’t just for House Republicans. Over in the Senate, Mitch McConnell is having plenty of trouble of his own trying to navigate the consequences of having given the keys to the party to a minority of extremists. What’s particularly ironic is that it’s over the one thing that has given the extremists all the power: Repealing Obamacare. McConnell had landed upon what he thought was the silver bullet to repeal Obamacar—using budget reconciliation, which requires a simple majority vote. So much for that.

For months, the GOP-led Congress has planned to use the procedural maneuver known as “reconciliation” to finally shepherd a major Obamacare repeal bill to the president’s desk. The fast-track process ensures Democrats in the Senate can’t filibuster the legislation and foil yet another attempt to gut the law.
But three conservative members of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s conference—Sens. Ted Cruz

Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida and Mike Lee of Utah—have already vowed to vote against the current reconciliation package that repeals major parts of Obamacare, arguing it doesn’t go far enough. If those votes don’t budge, McConnell can’t afford to lose any more votes from his 54-member ranks.

Here’s where it gets even tougher for McConnell. The extremists have also insisted that they have to defund Planned Parenthood. To avoid having a shutdown fight over that, leadership decided it would have to also happen in this reconciliation bill. So now McConnell is potentially losing so-called moderates like Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) as well as those in tough reelection campaigns in 2016, like Mark Kirk (R-IL), over that one.

So here he is, with the GOP’s holy grail—Obamacare repeal—just a few votes away, and he seemingly can’t even manage that. Remember how he and Boehner were going to prove that Republicans can govern? Yeah, that.

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