Republicans are back to open warfare over Obamacare.
Disparate factions of the GOP are drawing hard lines on what they’re willing to support — or not — when it comes to repealing the health care law. And the sparring raises the question of what, if anything, can pass Congress over the next few weeks.
The more centrist wing of the party wants to slow the entire process down. They say Republicans need to act deliberately to avoid public panic over millions potentially losing their insurance. The party, they argue, needs to put forward a replacement plan — or at least as much of one that can pass using a special, majority-vote mechanism — before it ditches the law. Forget the 2015 repeal bill that Barack Obama vetoed, they add: It’s not relevant now that Republicans own the problem.
“It’s not realistic,” said Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) of the 2015 bill. “The imperative is to do it right and I don’t think that does it right. I don’t think you’ll find much currency for that approach in the Senate.”
Conservatives are in a different place entirely. Senate hard-liners are joining with the House Freedom Caucus and some top Republican Study Committee members to demand a back-to-basics approach: Kill the law now, even if there’s no clear picture of what replaces it. On Monday evening the Freedom Caucus made the risky decision to return to pushing the 2015 repeal bill, arguing that it’s already proven it can win majorities in both chambers and clear the Senate’s parliamentary hurdles.