NJ Republican Representatives on “Repeal/Replace”: “Like the dog which caught the car.”

It was easy for NJ Republicans to oppose the Affordable Care Act when they were out of power. Now that they have “caught the car,” they are finding it hard to “repeal and replace” it. There is growing pressure from constituents to vote against the Ryan plan which Trump supports. In Trumpian language this bill (H.R. 1275) is officially called “World’s Greatest Healthcare Plan of 2017”. As laughable as that sounds, we must take it seriously and increase our protests.

Actually Ryan’s bill is not a repeal: it is as its text indicates an amendment of the ACA. Many conservative Republicans oppose it because they want a true repeal. Other Republicans in swing districts and those won by Hillary Clinton are becoming alarmed by protests of their constituents.

These protests must continue as the margin for a Republican victory is slim. Assuming all Democrats vote against the legislation, GOP leaders cannot afford more than 21 defections in the House and two in the Senate. According to the Hill there are eight representatives who now appear certain to vote against it, and 15 who are uncertain or unclear.

NJ REPUBLICAN LEGISLATORS

It is expected that NJ Democrats will vote against the bill. However, there is some uncertainty regarding Josh Gottheimer (CD 5) who has occasionally supported Republican legislation. Earlier on he stated he would not vote to repeal it unless there was a replacement. Now there is a replacement, but his position remains unclear. He recently expressed his willingness to work across the aisle to fix the Affordable Care Act while ensuring that any replacement plan addresses his critical priorities like allowing those with preexisting conditions to access care and keeping prescription drug costs low for seniors. On March 6 he drew a small red line, urging congressional leaders not to raise prescription drug costs by reopening the Medicare Part D “Donut Hole”.

It’s passage in the Senate is even more problematic. Senator Tom Cotton (R), generally viewed as a Trump ally, tweeted Thursday morning, “House health-care bill can’t pass Senate w/o major changes. To my friends in House: pause, start over. Get it right, don’t get it fast,”

If at first the Republicans don’t succeed they will try again. These protests are incredibly important because if legislators start over or make changes in their current version they could lean more to the far right to get those conservative votes or lean more to the left with reasonable modifications.  Hence we must keep up the pressure on all our Republicans legislators.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *