SPOTLIGHT

Damned if You Do or Don’t

House Republicans are hearing it from both sides on health care.

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. uses charts and graphs to make his case for the GOP's long-awaited plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Thursday, March 9, 2017, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
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Kyle Trygstad
March 13, 2017, 10:26 a.m.

With­in a week of the bill’s un­veil­ing, rank-and-file House Re­pub­lic­ans have been told they could lose their jobs if they don’t pass the Obama­care re­place­ment plan—and if they do.

First, Pres­id­ent Trump warned law­makers of an elect­or­al “blood­bath” should they not stick to their re­peated prom­ises to re­peal the sev­en-year-old health care law. He also threatened to sup­port the primary chal­lenger of any Re­pub­lic­an that doesn’t back the bill, a vow dir­ec­ted to­ward con­ser­vat­ives who have been par­tic­u­larly vo­cal in their cri­ti­cism.

Then Sen. Tom Cot­ton, an Arkan­sas Re­pub­lic­an and at one time a po­ten­tial 2020 pres­id­en­tial con­tender, said Sunday on ABC News’s This Week that by vot­ing for the bill House Re­pub­lic­ans would be walk­ing the plank and po­ten­tially put­ting “the House ma­jor­ity at risk next year.”

The alarm­ing real­ity for House Re­pub­lic­ans is that both could be right, par­tic­u­larly with Trump’s job ap­prov­al cur­rently at 45 per­cent. The pres­id­ent’s un­pop­ular­ity and the po­ten­tial ex­pan­sion of com­pet­it­ive ter­rit­ory gives Demo­crats an op­por­tun­ity to pick up the 24 seats they need.

As Nath­an Gonzales noted Fri­day for In­side Elec­tions, the pres­id­ent’s party lost seats in 18 of the last 20 midterms at an av­er­age of 33 seats per elec­tion.

Kyle Tryg­stad

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