Passing Tax Reform Offers Republicans Another Shot to Repeal Obamacare

Concerns that Donald Trump will fail to push through an alternative to Obamacare has fuelled worries about his chances of passing measures to boost the economy

Republicans have another shot to repeal Obamacare in 2018 after passing the historic Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Republicans passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December, which repealed Obamacare’s individual mandate. After passing the tax reform legislation, Republicans have differed on whether to pivot to infrastructure or entitlement reform.

Speaker Paul Ryan signaled that next year he wants to tackle entitlement reform, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested that Republicans should move on from repealing Obamacare. Republicans will only have a one-seat majority in the Senate in 2018, which will make more contentious issues such as welfare reform and Obamacare repeal less politically viable, although some conservatives have argued that Republicans should focus on repealing Obamacare.

Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA), a member of the House Freedom Caucus, contended, “When I go back home, the No. 1 issue, by far, is still ObamaCare and major health-care reform that’s needed to bring these skyrocketing premiums to an end.”

McConnell recently said that he will try to focus on legislation that will pass with bipartisan support.

“What the Democrats are willing to do is important because in the Senate, with rare exceptions like the tax bill, we’ve got to have Democratic involvement,” the Senate Majority Leader suggested.

Infrastructure would be “pretty popular with Democrats and Republicans,” McConnell added.

Sen. Lindsey Graham recently rebuked McConnell’s argument that Republicans should move on from Obamacare repeal, arguing that it would be an “unpardonable sin” to leave the Affordable Care Act mostly intact.

Graham told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview that he continues to work with Vice President Mike Pence and the White House on a new Graham-Cassidy Obamacare bill. Sen. Graham explained that Republicans could “get 50 votes” in the Senate and pass the bill through the House.

“Repealing the individual mandate takes away one of the pillars, but by no means does it repeal and replace Obamacare,” Sen. Graham told Breitbart News. “My goal for 2018 is to block grant the money for Obamacare back to the states and putting money in the hands of elected officials and not Washington bureaucrats.”

McConnell signaled last week that he would like to move forward on passing the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal bill as soon as they can find at least 50 votes in the Senate to pass the bill.

“The Graham–Cassidy proposal, they intend to, obviously, continue to work on. And my view of that is, as soon as we have the votes to achieve it, I would like to do that,” McConnell revealed. “The only observation I made yesterday that you may be referring to is, 51-49 is a pretty — is a pretty tight majority. But I’d love to be able to make more substantial changes to Obamacare than we have.”

FreedomWorks Vice President Jason Pye argued that Republicans should revisit Obamacare repeal. Pye said, “[Graham’s] comments on Twitter the other day, just saying that it’s imperative that we come back and revisit this issue at some point in time, I think he’s absolutely right. We should. But there’s got to be some evidence of getting to 50 or 51 before we can do that.”


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