March 06, 2017
It wasn't your average scavenger hunt. But Republicans scurried through the Capitol anyway, looking for the elusive text to the Obamacare repeal. "It was 'find the Affordable Care Act replacement' day" in Congress on Thursday, the New York Times joked. Word on the Hill was that GOP leadership had a copy "under lock and key" somewhere in the Capitol basement, leading Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and other members on a wild goose chase in the bowels of the building to demand access. "This is being presented as if this were a national secret," Sen. Paul told reporters. "As if this were a plot to invade another country. As if this were a national security. That's wrong. This should be done openly, in the public and conservatives who have objections... should be allowed to see the bill."
According to sources, he's about to get his wish. Several months, five congressional committees, and countless drafts later, GOP leaders say they finally have a bill to show the public. "We're working through the final details of this," Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) reassured voters. And not a moment too soon. With the clock ticking on the budget reconciliation process the Senate used successfully in 2015, both chambers will have to hurry through hearings as it is. As Republicans know all too well, the window for reconciliation (the strategy that allows the GOP to pass a repeal with 51 votes instead of the normal 60) will start closing -- and with it, any chances of gutting Obamacare and defunding Planned Parenthood.
But just because there's a bill doesn't mean there will be consensus. At the very least, conservatives can start working toward the goal of undoing the greatest legislative mistake of the Obama years. For GOP leaders, the job doesn't get any easier. Like FRC, activists on the right are growing more and more impatient. "We've been patient this year, but it is past time to act and to act decisively," said Americans for Prosperity. "Our network has spent more money, more time, and more years fighting Obamacare than anything else. And now with the finish line in sight, we cannot allow some folks to pull up and give up."
For pro-lifers, who've fought for years to get taxpayers out of the abortion business, the reconciliation process is the best hope to sever ties with Planned Parenthood. It's a make-or-break moment -- not just for GOP leaders, but for the party as a whole. This is what Americans sent the Republican majority to Congress to do. If they fail, the consequences will reverberate for years. The time for living up to their word is now. "I think the only way we get members of Congress to stay the course on this is with constituent pressure," warned FreedomWorks. That's where you come in! If you haven't contacted your House and Senate members, what are you waiting for? Call and email their offices and urge them to keep their promise to voters!
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.