Did you hear the one about the Senator raising concerns about Indian health?By Mark Trahant
TrahantReports.Com The Senate is now going through 20 hours of debate on House Resolution 1628 to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. But the House bill was stripped of every word except the title. Now the idea is to come up with the right language to reach 50 votes (so, like with the Motion to Proceed, Vice President Mike Pence can break the tie and vote yes). The first proposal, Senate Amendment 267, had all sorts of problems on the floor. The Senate’s Parliamentarian ruled that parts of the bill did not get a score from the Congressional Budget Office and other parts violated budget rules. So 60 votes, not 50 were needed for this version to pass. But the Republican leadership wasn’t even close to 50 votes — Nine Republicans voted against it. Including Arizona Sen. John McCain who just a few hours before said he wasn’t happy with any of the legislative proposals. Think about this. He interrupted his cancer treatment (taxpayer funded health care) then gave a stirring speech about the break down of civility in the Senate. He said he would vote against the bills as presented, and then, votes yes anyway. Quite a day. And so much for his words. I’ll admit: I thought McCain meant what he said. Then at least McCain earned respect and praise from President Donald J. Trump. He tweeted: "@SenJohnMcCain Thank you for coming to D.C. for such a vital vote. Congrats to all Rep. We can now deliver grt healthcare to all Americans!” Now that’s something — as is the process itself. ask about Indian children when more than half are covered by Medicaid. Or show why Indian Country needs the jobs that have been created (and will be lost) by these proposals. Better yet: One Native Senator could use data to prove that Medicaid works.
Indian Country deserves to be in this debate. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski has been a key opponent of the Republican leadership’s health care legislation. It’s mostly about Medicaid. I am sure that it’s also due to her support of the Alaska Native medical system. She gets it. But Murkowski will pay a political price for her votes, at least in a primary election. But then she’s gone through that before. And won. Not long after the Senate vote on the Motion to Proceed, the Alaska Republican Party said Murkowski abandoned them. Party chairman Tuckerman Babcock said the “repeal of Obamacare is non-negotiable.” (Funny: I feel the same way about the Senate alternatives.) And so the party talks about possible consequences for Murkowski. Babcock said her vote put at risk new oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (would that be true) and said her Energy Committee “chairmanship could be at risk.” And President Donald J. Trump tweeted Wednesday morning: “Senator @lisamurkowski of the Great State of Alaska really let the Republicans, and our country, down yesterday. Too bad!” So will there be punishment? I would not be so sure. Remember the Republican majority is thin. As I reported last week: Three senators switch sides and it’s a new Senate. Two are already really, unhappy. So the way to make it three is for Republicans to continue to attack their own members. Mark Trahant is the Charles R. Johnson Endowed Professor of Journalism at the University of North Dakota. He is an independent journalist and a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. To read more of his regular #NativeVote16 updates, follow trahantreports.com On Facebook: TrahantReports On Twitter: @TrahantReports
Senator @lisamurkowski of the Great State of Alaska really let the Republicans, and our country, down yesterday. Too bad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017