Rss@dailykos.com (joan Mccarter) · Wednesday, June 07, 2017, 4:58 pm
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) began the procedure Wednesday for fast-tracking Trumpcare to get it to the floor with a minimum of transparency and a maximum of pressure.
McConnell began the process under what is known as Rule 14, according to the Senate minority whip’s office, to allow a repeal bill to be put directly on the Senate calendar so that it is available for a floor vote when Republicans are ready to vote on it. The move comes as GOP senators continue their closed-door meetings to hash out a deal that would secure the 50 votes they’ll need to pass legislation dismantling the Affordable Care Act, which they they are pushing through a process known as reconciliation that avoids a Democratic filibuster.
Rule 14 allows a bill to bypass committees and be sent directly to the floor, without going through normal procedural requirements, like the two-day availability of a committee report prior to floor consideration. The one thing McConnell has to do is get a Congressional Budget Office score before a vote. Former Sen. Harry Reid's Chief of Staff, Adam Jentleson (who knows McConnell as well as anyone on the Hill) agrees with our speculation that McConnell is following the Ryan model—push this thing through as fast as he can, pressuring his conference to get the 50 votes he needs.
Jentleson says that this is McConnell "saying 'boo' to his conference and seeing who jumps. He wants to walk his conference to the edge of the cliff and make them stare down at the option of failing on their 'repeal' promise. After putting the fear of God into them, he will rally them with speeches like 'failure is not an option.'" Jentleson speculates that the magic number is four—if McConnell has fewer than four strong "no" votes right now, "he'll think he can win them over—and he's probably right."
Which means we need to keep maximum pressure on the handful of senators that can be that four, and add another one or two. Topher Spiro, health policy expert and fellow at the Center for American Progress, has been keeping accurate whip counts in both the House and Senate on Trumpcare. He hears that McConnell will set Sens. Susan Collins (ME) and Lisa Murkowski (AK) off the hook on this one, ready to bring Vice President Mike Pence back in for the tiebreaker. So we need to focus on the vulnerable Sens. Jeff Flake (AZ) and particularly Dean Heller (NV). There are also the wild cards of the maniacs—Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul—who could derail it from the other side.
We've to go do our part. Call, write, raise hell with your Republican senators.