Republican Texas Sen. John Cornyn, after telling his caucus they don’t deserve information about what they might be voting on next week when it comes to Trumpcare because preparing them is a “luxury we don’t have,” is now treating them like idiots. All they have to do, he says, is vote to proceed to the bill and then they can have all the amendments they want—which is bullshit.
But it’s bullshit that works on the gullible. Witness Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.
Paul has blocked previous iterations of the bill from ever seeing debate on the Senate floor, and was generally considered an un-winnable vote. But on Thursday, he said he would relent and support a motion to proceed—if GOP leaders guaranteed him a vote on an amendment that would swap in the 2015 Obamacare repeal bill.
Despite widespread reluctance from both moderate and hardline GOP senators, with Paul on board the bill is much more likely to come to the floor next week.
No one should be expecting the idea of unlimited amendments to actually happen. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell is not going to do that. They should also not expect McConnell to be playing fairly with them, because they fucking know him—and because that offer is likely a bait-and-switch. Pretty much literally. Because this:
Along with piecemeal amendments that the full Senate might adopt, McConnell could introduce a full substitute amendment up to the very end of debate that could replace what was the subject of debate with a substantially new piece of legislation. The result could be a literal “bait-and-switch:” debate over one proposal, followed by a vote on a significantly different one.
They might not know what they’re voting on, even while they’re voting on it! Whatever it is certainly won’t have been scored by the CBO yet—and if it happens as soon as next Tuesday, everything that McConnell is juggling to bribe senators to vote “yes” can’t possibly be presented to CBO for analysis.
Senators should know enough at this point—that at least 20 million are going to lose their health insurance and that their states are going to be financially slammed by Medicaid cuts—to know this bill is bad politics. They should know enough about the contempt McConnell holds for them, exemplified by his forcing them to take the miserable vote, to tell him to shove it. It’s got to be shut down now.
Time to jam the phone lines and shut this down. Call your Senator at (202) 224-3121 and tell them to end this farce now. Then, tell us how it went.