At the same time Donald Trump is discussing working out a deal (because he's a terrific deal-maker, the best!) with the Democrats on a second shot at a healthcare bill, Paul Ryan is making sure everyone knows that won't be happening. Ever.
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in an interview to be broadcast early Thursday said he does not want to work with Democrats on healthcare legislation, breaking with President Trump's recent comments.
“I don’t want that to happen,” Ryan told Norah O’Donnell on "CBS This Morning."
“I want a patient-centered system," he added. "I don’t want government running healthcare. The government shouldn’t tell you what you must do with your life, with your healthcare. We should give people choices.”
Translation: "The only healthcare bill that is acceptable is one that takes it away from everyone that can't afford it. God bless Ayn Rand."
The most immediate problem with Ryan's stance is that it's gibberish. Without working out a bipartisan bill, there is no bill to be had. The House Freedom Caucus has made it perfectly clear that unless the bill is extreme enough that Ebeneezer Scrooge would be ashamed of its cruelty, they'll knock down anything Ryan scribbles on the back of a napkin in between P90X workouts. That such an extreme bill (possibly called the American Soylent Green Final Solution Bill) would die a sad and lonely death in the Senate unless Democrats vote for it (yeah, that ain't happening) doesn't seem to factor into their reasoning.
Ryan knows this so what's the end goal here? If I had to guess, I'd say that he wants to put together the healthcare bill of his dreams; one that repeals Obamacare, rewards the rich with massive tax cuts, screws the middle class and possibly makes it legal to hunt the working poor for sport. The House Freedom Caucus will gleefully vote for it and then Ryan can leave it on the Senate Republicans' doorstep like a bag of flaming dog shit.
When it gets laughed out of the chamber by the generally risk-averse Senate, Ryan can throw up his hands in mock exasperation, "We tried to fulfill our promise to the public to ruin their lives but the Senate just wouldn't let us!" It's not a great plan but it might be all that Ryan, now the single most unpopular politician in the country, has left. He needs a way to save face with Republican voters and his inability to control his own caucus leaves him with no good options.
At this point, breaking ranks with Trump is the least of his problems now that Trump has declared war on the House Freedom Caucus. If Ryan thought they were uncooperative before, they'll be downright hostile to leadership now. Giving them control over how sadistic the new healthcare bill is might be the only way to keep them happy long enough to avoid a government shutdown.
There are 585 days left to the 2018 elections.
- This article kills fascists
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