June 23, 2017
When Obamacare was forced on the nation by former President Obama and the Democrats in control, Americans responded by handing Republicans the keys to Congress. The irony is that they could very well lose that same majority if they don't deliver on four election cycles of campaign promises. Late yesterday, the draft repeal plan, which had been holed up in leadership and committee meetings, was finally released -- to mixed reviews. At least four senators -- Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Ron Johnson -- put leaders on notice that they would need to see more changes before lending their support. "Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor," the statement said.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who's adamant about voting before the July 4th holiday, has a week to get everyone on the same page, which President Trump is optimistic the GOP can do. "It's not that [these four conservative senators are] opposed. They'd like to get certain changes. And we'll see if we can take care of that," he promised. On Twitter, he was even more exuberant. "I am very supportive of the Senate #HealthCareBill. Look forward to making it really special!"
In many ways, the Wall Street Journal points out, the 142-page bill is a lot like the House's American Health Care Act. The plan would end Obamacare penalties, cut taxes on higher earners, and revamp Medicaid. But in other ways, it's not. "It isn't clear if those changes, such as the shape of the tax credits and a more gradual phasing-out of the Medicaid expansion, would be enough to attract more centrist Republicans without alienating the most conservative lawmakers in both chambers."
As far as FRC is concerned, the plan isn't perfect -- but we've been working with the Senate and the White House to iron out the problems so that pro-lifers can support it, and we will continue to do so. This morning, in a meeting with the White House, HHS Secretary Tom Price, and other pro-lifers, we discussed our concerns in greater detail -- namely that the legislation fulfills the longstanding promise to protect taxpayers and the unborn.
In a joint statement with SBA List, we explained that the expectations of the pro-life movement have always been clear. "The health care bill must not indefinitely subsidize abortion and must re-direct abortion giant Planned Parenthood's taxpayer funding to community health centers. The Senate discussion draft includes these pro-life priorities, but we remain very concerned that either of these priorities could be removed from the bill for procedural or political reasons. We are working closely with our pro-life allies in the Senate to prevent this from happening as it could result in our opposition. We are confident that the pro-life Senate will ultimately move forward with our pro-life priorities intact."
But the Senate needs to hear from you so that they are reminded they need to listen to us. Let your leaders know that you elected them not just to finish the job -- but to finish the forced partnership between taxpayers and the abortion industry!
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.