Two more key Republican defections killed the Senate’s health bill Monday night, and President Donald Trump had a message to his base: Blame the Democrats — well, and a few Republicans too.
We were let down by all of the Democrats and a few Republicans. Most Republicans were loyal, terrific & worked really hard. We will return!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2017
To be clear, Democrats have never been part of the Republican majority’s calculus on health care reform. That’s by design.
At the beginning of this year, thinking only Senate Democrats — with the power of a filibuster — would stop them from repealing Obamacare and cutting taxes, Republican leadership devised a plan to bypass Democrats altogether: They tied their major agenda items to the budget through “budget reconciliation,” a bill that can impact spending, revenue, or the debt ceiling, with only a party-line vote in the Senate.
In other words, Republicans, knowing they wanted to do something Democrats would never sign on to, found a way to circumvent them altogether. It means they have an incredibly small margin of victory (they can only lose two votes) — and only themselves to blame every time their proposals fall apart.
On Monday night, everything fell apart. Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) came out against the revised bill, bringing the “no” vote tally to four, alongside Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Susan Collins (R-ME).
This isn’t the first time Trump has blamed Democrats without acknowledging what budget reconciliation does — he tweeted Monday that the Senate should do away with the filibuster, and censured Democrats for obstructing his agenda, even though the filibuster hasn’t been relevant in the health care repeal and replace fight so far.
With only a very small majority, the Republicans in the House & Senate need more victories next year since Dems totally obstruct, no votes!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2017
The Senate must go to a 51 vote majority instead of current 60 votes. Even parts of full Repeal need 60. 8 Dems control Senate. Crazy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2017
One thing is clear, however: This is a major setback for Trump, who has yet to have a single major legislative victory in his time in office. And it looks like he’s not happy.