UPDATE: Don’t forget that Sen. Mitch McConnell will be in Colorado next week (August 17) for a fundraiser hosted by Sen. Cory Gardner.
In case you somehow missed it, Congressional Republicans spent most of 2017 in a fruitless quest to repeal and (maybe) replace Obamacare. Despite seven years of campaign promises to destroy the Affordable Care Act and the Congressional majority to theoretically make it happen, the GOP couldn’t come up with a reasonable piece of legislation that could even make it onto the Senate floor for a debate.
While some Republicans are still pretending that they might eventually repeal Obamacare, most are spending the long August recess trying to avoid the subject altogether. Instead of talking about healthcare changes with constituents, Republicans such as Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) are desperately trying to figure out how to explain some pretty awful votes. When Congress returns to work after Labor Day, healthcare won’t likely be a focus of their attention; as Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch colorfully explained, Republicans “shot their wad” on healthcare.
Republicans may indeed move on to other legislative priorities without accomplishing anything on Obamacare, but the political wounds from the first half of this year may not heal anytime soon. Right-wing radio host Sean Hannity is calling for the head of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell:
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) August 9, 2017
As the Huffington Post explains, red-on-red anger is on the rise:
While moderate Republicans like Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine) are receiving warm adulation from constituents for opposing a bill that would have repealed Obamacare, other GOP lawmakers are facing attacks from their right flank over their handling of the health care debate.
Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) drew a primary challenge this week from businessman Danny Tarkanian, a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, who blasted the senator for failing to support Trump during last year’s presidential campaign and for “obstructing” his agenda in Washington, D.C…..
…The inability to repeal Obamacare has also roiled the race for an Alabama Senate seat made vacant by Trump’s appointment of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General earlier this year.
Ousted Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who is running in the Republican primary, released a television ad on Tuesday defending himself against attacks made by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his allies in Washington, D.C.
“They lied about repealing Obamacare. Now Mitch McConnell’s D.C slime machine is spending millions spreading lies about Roy Moore,” the narrator in the ad said.
Frustration over the failure to repeal Obamacare isn’t just limited to Republican Primary fights. Dark clouds are bubbling over in
the White House New Jersey as well:
Senator Mitch McConnell said I had “excessive expectations,” but I don’t think so. After 7 years of hearing Repeal & Replace, why not done?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 9, 2017
Trump’s comments were in response to this statement from McConnell.
It was just about a year ago that Sen. Gardner was publicly campaigning to be the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) for 2018. If he could get his hands on a time machine, we’d guess that Gardner would happily take a do-over on that decision. Come to think of it, Gardner would probably prefer to just erase 2017 altogether.