President Trump warned members of Congress who are on the fence over the GOP bill to replace Obamacare that their jobs could be at stake in 2018 — something fellow Republicans say is no idle threat.
“When a party deals with health care, they own it. Democrats learned that first-hand when they got clobbered in the 2010 mid-term election,” said Ryan Williams, a Romney alum and Republican consultant, referring to the election cycle that saw a wave of Republicans, including Scott Brown, ride into Congress amid the debate over the Affordable Care Act.
“If they don’t make good on their promise, many members of their own political base will be upset,” Williams said. He added that Trump himself has to be considered.
“He’s not employing a passive, hands-off approach. He’s on the Hill, he’s working members on the phone. He’s really putting on the full-court press.”
Yesterday, when Trump met behind closed doors with the House Republican rank-and-file ahead of an expected vote tomorrow. Republican leaders were also making a slew of last-minute changes to the bill to make it more palatable for critics, including adding a provision that could make the bill’s tax credit more generous for people between 50 and 64 years old.
Several members noted that if Republicans don’t meet the party’s long-held promises on health care, voters won’t forget.
“If it fails, then there will be a lot of people looking for work in 2018,” said Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas.
Massachusetts has seen the impact health care policy can have on elections. Brown, then a relatively unknown state senator, bested Martha Coakley in a 2010 special election after he vowed to oppose the Affordable Care Act — then still a bill. His victory ensured that Democrats at the time no longer had the 60-seat Senate majority needed to overcome GOP filibusters, though the bill eventually passed.
There also have been thinly veiled threats from congressional leadership that Republicans shouldn’t stand in this bill’s way.
“I would hate to be a Republican whose vote prevented us from keeping the commitment we’ve made to the American people for almost 10 years now,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.
Herald wire services contributed to this report.
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