“Over plates of lemon ricotta agnolotti and grilled rib-eye steak,” reports the Washington Post, Sen. Steve Daines and six other Republican senators dined with President Donald Trump.
It was an informal affair with chit-chat about Trump’s Bastille Day visit to Paris, and some of the myriad issues of the day.
“None of us knew what the meeting was about (Monday) night. We just were invited to the White House,” Daines said. “There was no topic given to us.” Then:
As the dinner ended, reality returned. Two more Republican senators had suddenly bolted from supporting the health-care bill, lifting the total number of Republicans opposed to four and effectively killing it.
In a way, the oblivious state of Republicans on health care legislation is good news. The ACA has its problems but is certainly better than any of the proposed Republican solutions. Thankfully, repeal and replace bills, or just plain repeal, are dead for the foreseeable future.
Much to Daines’ relief, no health care votes have been held in the Senate this year. He hasn’t had to take a stand. We do know that he supports repealing the ACA with nothing to replace it. Here’s an NPR report on what a disaster that would be.
To quote Flathead Memo’s James Conner, ” …the repeal now, replace later, option is just as crazy as deciding to land on the Moon, and once there, figuring out how to get home.”
In a more down-to-earth analysis, Vicky Byrd of the Montana Nurses Association said, “Daines made a conscious decision to leave Montana citizens behind. He chose, instead, to be in lock step with the Washington, D.C. agenda.”
She said proposing to repeal the law without having an alternative health care plan to replace “would destabilize our health care system and jeopardize lives across our state,” reports the Great Falls Tribune.
Now, Trump’s plan is to just “let Obamacare fail” — not a particularly proactive approach to America’s health-care woes. Here’s another Washington Post article on Trump’s incompetence in influencing Republican senators. An outtake:
“I was very surprised when the two folks came out last night because we thought they were in fairly good shape, but they did,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday.
Republicans in Washington were dumbfounded that, with the GOP health-care bill on the line, Trump decided to spend his time eating with allies rather than trying to win over adversaries. And it blew up in his face in the most spectacular way.
Daines must be pleased he didn’t have to commit to shuttering Montana’s rural hospitals or throwing 80,000 Montanans off Medicaid or ending the subsidies for Montana’s middle-class.
Maybe clueless was the wrong choice of words for this post’s headline — depraved, ineffective, thoughtless, reprehensible, cruel — at the very least, Daines is doing a miserable job of representing Montanans in the U.S. Senate.