We are talking about a Congress that keeps tripping over itself trying to pass one "simple" little thing - a massive Repeal of Obamacare, with MAYBE a Replace plan to placate the 18-32 million Americans about to get kicked off healthcare coverage - and yet wounding themselves and each other in the process.
It's gotten so bad that Republican Senators are insisting that the Republican-controlled House promise to NOT vote on the very bill ("Skinny Repeal") that the same Senators are forcing themselves to vote for (via CNN.com):
The strange drama -- Republican senators imploring their own colleagues across the Capitol to vow that they would not pass the bill they are about to pass -- unfolded as lawmakers prepared to kick off a long and exhausting open-amendment process in the Senate known as vote-a-rama.
It crystallized the remarkable dissatisfaction and deep reservations that Republican members feel just hours away from potentially voting to weaken the Affordable Care Act, something they had campaigned to do since the law's enactment more than seven years ago...
"I'm not going to vote for a bill that is terrible policy and politics just to get something done," GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham said at a press conference...
Except that Graham is willing to vote for a bill that is terrible policy just to get something done.
It's so blatant a lie that you wonder when these Senators' parents will show up to send them to their rooms for being naughty.
It's as Matthew Yglesias notes over at Vox.com:
But if denouncing both the process by which a bill has been assembled and the substantive ideas it contains doesn’t lead you to vote against leadership on procedural matters, then what do your words even mean?
...Mitch McConnell is operating with a narrow Senate majority and basically zero margin for error ever since Susan Collins got off the BCRA bus. Objections to his approach are flying from virtually every direction of the caucus. Yet the health bill keeps shambling forward, since Republicans seem comfortable lying to the American people about essentially all aspects of the process, up to and including their own position on it.
That is the story of the health care process that has consumed the past several months in Congress: the almost unceasing parade of lies...
...The ultimate irony is that at every step along the way, the argument that appears to propel Republicans forward is the notion that they have an obligation to fulfill their promise to repeal and replace Obamacare.
In reality, everything they have done in pursuit of repeal is breaking promises. As a candidate, donald trump promised to protect Medicaid, lower premiums and deductibles, and cover everyone. Every single version of repeal that Republicans have considered does the opposite on every front...
...McConnell and Paul Ryan then, entirely of their own volition, with no evident input from trump, proceeded to enact the most fantastically irregular legislative process anyone has ever seen. And dozens of Republican senators proceeded to repeatedly bemoan the slipshod process even while continually voting to continue the process. Now they daily — hourly, even — express intense anxiety about the pressure they are under and profound eagerness to see their way clear of this mess. But at every turn, they resist the obvious alternative — a bipartisan process aimed at a bipartisan bill that would actually stabilize exchanges and fulfill both parties’ commitment to improve Americans’ health care...
The Republicans painted themselves into this corner years ago when they went full Obstruction against Obamacare. As Frum warned, the Republicans are now in no position to make sensible health care policy because every conservative-based option is cut off to them.
The Republicans were so desperate to paint Obamacare as a failure from Day One that they resorted to lying and distortion and refusal to recognize its benefits to the majority of Americans. They screamed about Death Panels that weren't there, they complained about costs that never emerged, they laughed at a faulty website even as millions used it to get affordable health coverage.
Yet for all their lies, the Republicans now have to face reality: They cannot repeal the existing healthcare system without kicking millions of people - families, working poor, kids, elderly - off that system. And while they'll do their best to lie about who'll be responsible for all those people losing health care, the Republicans know damn well that people will blame the elected officials who voted for that repeal.
This is why Republicans are whining about the Democrats not giving them any political cover by sharing the burden of voting for these disastrous bills: The Dems are wisely avoiding any situation where they'll end up the scapegoats for this.
And yet, as we're seeing right now, the Republicans keep pushing themselves over the cliff to pass a bill nobody wants to pass. All because of that goddamn tax cut they want to get out of doing this.
There is chaos on the floor of the Senate tonight. There remains chaos across the whole of Congress as both houses play a deadly game of Hot Potato with the nation's health care.
The smartest and simplest move the Republicans can make tonight is tell the truth: They HAVE NO ALTERNATIVE to Obamacare, and that they are better off fixing the glitches in Obamacare to keep most of America in a stable and affordable health care system.
Just don't fucking vote for bad bills, Republicans. Christ. IT IS THAT SIMPLE.