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House Republicans Finally Pass An Obamacare Repeal and Replacement

After years of promises and months of delays, House Republicans passed their version of an Obamacare repeal and replacement Thursday, muscling the far-right legislation through their chamber by feverishly pressuring moderates in the closing days.Republicans passed the bill 217-213, with 20 Republicans voting “no” and not a single Democrat voting in support.But what seems like a victory for House Republicans may ultimately be their downfall.

Democrats were of two minds about Republicans advancing the bill, which would gut some of Obamacare’s most popular provisions (including protections for people with pre-existing conditions as well as the Medicaid expansion).

On one hand, Democrats desperately wanted to protect President Barack Obama’s signature law. On the other hand, Democrats believe ― perhaps correctly ― that this extremely conservative bill can’t pass the Senate, and that House Republicans may have just hung a profoundly unpopular legislation around the necks of some of their most vulnerable members.

As Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told Republicans during her floor speech before the vote, Democrats plan to tattoo every provision of this bill to the foreheads of Republicans. “You will glow in the dark,” Pelosi said.

While Republicans were cheering as they passed the voting threshold requirements, Democrats began singing to their counterparts the popular anthem of “Na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, hey, hey, hey! Goodbye!”

A number of vulnerable Republicans also held off on voting for the bill until it was clear leadership needed their vote. Of particular note, Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), and Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) all waited to see if their votes would be needed before they supported the bill. Ultimately, leadership needed all of them.

When Democrats passed the health care law in 2010, many members knew it was coming at the expense of their seats. They did it, however, because it was policy they deeply believed in, protecting millions of sick and poor Americans while growing the number of insured in the country to record highs.

Republicans marched off this potential political cliff knowing their bill would uninsure millions, undermine protections for the sick and poor, and probably face little chance of becoming law ― and they did it without a revised score from the Congressional Budget Office.

But at least it’s off their plate.

That was the thinking among many members who just wanted to advance the process to the Senate and fulfill a promise that every Republican ran on: to repeal and replace Obamacare.

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