United States REPUBLICAN Senator and Current SENATE MAJORITY Leader MITCH McCONNELL (KENTUCKY)
Wednesday night , January 11 began cute, with folks talking about VOTE-A-RAMA with the Senate sitting in session well into Thursday morning, and rookie Republican Senator Todd Young sending snack food to the press gallery. It gradually became less cute as the night became the morning. The Democratic minority kept offering amendment after amendment, all of which failed by the narrow margin by which the Republicans control the Senate.
Then, around one o'clock in the morning, the actual mugging occurred, and millions of Americans awoke to the news that their newly acquired healthcare—and the newly acquired peace of mind that came with it—was going up in smoke.
ESQUIRE Magazine reports the key moment came at about one in the morning when Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, withdrew his amendment that would have pushed the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act back to the beginning of March. Defenders of the law had set great store by the Corker amendment, which seemed to indicate that the Republican majority was both a) afraid to stand the gaff that will come when people lose their healthcare, and b) realizing that repealing the ACA without a viable replacement would cause actual chaos. That unicorn died in the dead of night.
The amendments proposed by the Democrats and defeated by the Republicans were designed to put the majority on the wrong side of the most popular aspects of the law. It was really all they had left, but, in six months, when all those people who voted for the president-elect secure in the knowledge that he'd never do what he promised to do, discover that their pre-existing conditions suddenly matter again, the odds are that they will blame themselves or The Government or liberals or Barack Obama and nobody will remember how the mugging happened, and the rain will wash away the chalk outline of the victim from the sidewalk. And the death of the Affordable Care Act will become a cold case, an unsolved mystery mouldering in a pauper's grave.
The NEW YORK TIMES reports:
"The final vote, which ended just before 1:30 a.m., followed a marathon session in which senators took back-to-back roll call votes on numerous amendments, an arduous exercise known as a vote-a-rama.
The approval of the budget blueprint, coming even before President-elect Donald J. Trump is inaugurated, shows the speed with which Republican leaders are moving to fulfill their promise to repeal President Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement — a goal they believe can now be accomplished after Mr. Trump’s election.
The action by the Senate is essentially procedural, setting the stage for a special kind of legislation called a reconciliation bill. Such a bill can be used to repeal significant parts of the health law and, critically, is immune from being filibustered. Congress appears to be at least weeks away from voting on legislation repealing the law.
Republicans say the 2016 elections gave them a mandate to roll back the health care law. “The Obamacare bridge is collapsing, and we’re sending in a rescue team,” said Senator Michael B. Enzi, Republican of Wyoming and the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. “Then we’ll build new bridges to better health care, and finally, when these new bridges are finished, we’ll close the old bridge.”-CCG