It’s around 8AM, World Time, on March 24.
The political party that claims to espouse “original intent” as a judicial philosophy continues to try to govern in a way our founding fathers did not intend: by effectively turning the 435-member House of Representatives into a body where only the votes of the 237 Republicans count.
In consequence, to pass legislation, the Republican leadership must obtain the votes of 91 percent of the Republicans.* If more than 22 of them defect, and a bill has no Democratic support, then it will fail.
The Washington Post reports that 32 Republicans have said they will vote no on the Republican health care bill, while an additional 22 say they lean toward a no vote.
Last night’s vote was cancelled, but Trump is said to have demanded a final vote today, failing which he will “move on” and will no longer support the Ryan health care plan.
There are several possibilities, each disastrous for Trump and the Republicans:
- The House votes and passes the bill. That would send the whole mess to the Senate, where the Republicans would need support from 96 percent of their members to pass anything.
- The House votes and fails to pass the bill, and that’s the end of the matter.
- The House votes and fails to pass the bill, but, contrary to Trump’s expressed wishes, Republicans keep at “health care reform.”
- The House Republican leadership stalls again, but keeps on trying to corral Republican votes in violation of Trump’s expressed wishes.
- The House Republican leadership stalls again, and puts health care on the back burner.
If I were king of the world, I would choose option 2. But if I were thinking in purely political terms, I would relish option one.
Passage of this universally despised bill would give progressives an actual target to shoot at.
Imagine the stories about people losing their coverage. Image the ads.
Image the outrage, as the least sentient among our voting population finally figure out what is happening to them.
* Currently, five seats are vacant in the House of Representatives, so the total number of sitting members is 430. The 50 percent plus one needed to pass legislation is 216 votes. Of the 420 sitting members, 237 are Republicans. Thus, assuming no Democratic support for a piece of legislation, the votes of 216 Republicans, or about 91 percent of the congresspersons from that party, are required for passage.