In 2015 Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, and Rob Portman of Ohio co-sponsored senate bill 336 titled “Obamacare Repeal Act”. This bill was authored by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and would have repealed the Affordable Care Act which became law in 2010. Senators Murkowski, Capito, and Portman not only co-sponsored the above legislation but also voted for passage of H.R. 3762. H.R. 3762 was another Obamacare repeal bill that was actually vetoed by President Obama in 2015.
It is 2017 and these three Senators have changed their mind and claim they can no longer support a full repeal of Obamacare. What has changed between now and then? America elected a Republican President to the White House. This means that if Congress were to actually pass repeal legislation, President Trump would sign it, unlike former President Obama. This clearly shows that Senators Murkowski, Capito, and Portman deceived the American people in 2015 by voting for that which they knew would fail. Now that a Republican president would actually sign a repeal bill into law they show their true colors.
The 2016 Republican Party Platform states that “Any honest agenda for improving healthcare must start with repeal of the dishonestly named Affordable Care Act of 2010: Obamacare. It weighs like the dead hand of the past upon American medicine. It imposed a Euro-style bureaucracy to manage its unworkable, budget-busting, conflicting provisions. It has driven up prices for all consumers” (Emphasis mine).
The problem with the Republican Party is not its platform or its principles. The problem is we have politicians running with an “R” by their name when they aren’t true Republicans. One thing the election of President Trump has done is expose those who are merely posing as Republicans. You can’t be a Republican and be for one of the most disastrous pieces of legislation passed solely by Democrats.
Occasionally, politicians have a change of mind or heart about an issue and will vote their conviction even if it runs counter to the party line. But it is not okay to use the Republican label to get elected only to vote like a Democrat once you’re in office. This is exactly what Murkowski, Capito, and Portman have done. They have rented out the Republican label while campaigning only to arrive in Washington and side with Democrats on keeping Obamacare.
One Obamacare supporting Republican that I have a mild bit of respect for is Senator Susan Collins of Maine. Sen. Collins voted against repealing Obamacare in 2015 and has openly held that position for the past two years. I give Sen. Collins credit for her consistency on this issue.
The American Family Association has recently called on Republicans in the Senate to fully repeal Obamacare. In an action alert, AFA President Tim Wildmon stated “It is time for Senator McConnell to put a 100% Obamacare repeal bill to a floor vote. If Democrats and a handful Republicans want to vote against a clean repeal, causing Obamacare to remain, then so be it. Let the chips fall where they may. This way the good people of America can decide in future elections if they like their senators' vote to keep Obamacare.”
I couldn’t agree more. Whether pass or fail, it is time to hold a vote on repealing Obamacare. With an on-the-record vote we will get to see who should be primaried next time re-election rolls around. I’m sure the Tea Party wouldn’t mind putting up a challenger for the Republican Senators who decide to keep the disastrous Obamacare in place.
(UPDATE: this blog was written prior to last night's vote in the Senate. The Senate voted against a partial repeal of Obamacare. The vote was 49-51. Republican Senators McCain, Collins, and Merkowski voted against this repeal bill.)