Senate triggers 'nuclear option' to speed through confirmation of Trump appointees

President Trump surprised many in his own party when he declared that Republicans would be the party of health care, prompting Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to tell him this week he had no plans of taking up comprehensive health care reform with a Democratic-controlled House.

"We'll all promise it's going to be our first vote because we blew it the last time", he said, referring to multiple attempts by Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, when they were in the majority from 2017 to 2018.

"The Republicans are developing a really great HealthCare Plan with far lower premiums (cost) & deductibles than ObamaCare", Trump wrote Monday night in a series of tweets after speaking to McConnell. "Man, I was sold a bill of goods", Trump said, referring to failed efforts to "repeal and replace" Obamacare.

Of course, Trump was clear that the vote would not be taken until "after the Election when Republicans hold the Senate & win back the House". Just eight Republicans joined majority Democrats in voting to urge the administration to reverse its assault against Obamacare, as the 2010 Affordable Care Act that overhauled the USA healthcare system is popularly known. They say the GOP move would enable Trump and future presidents, so long as their party controls the Senate, to run roughshod over the Senate.

The Republican-led U.S. Senate on Wednesday changed its procedures to speed up the confirmation of President Donald Trump's nominees for some lower court judgeships and sub-Cabinet level positions.

This will essentially turn the Senate into the House, but it will also make it much easier for Democrats to pass legislation if they regain control of the Senate in 2020.

Republicans said at the time that Reid and Democrats would come to regret the change, which has given Trump largely free rein to fill numerous judicial vacancies that have piled up over the years.

Said Rouda, "The ordinary people whose lives would be upended by this decision have been offered a raw deal: to blow up health care and fix it later".

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky threatened to use the nuclear option Tuesday after he was unable to secure a supermajority vote to change the rules.

After Trump dropped the issue on Republicans last week, many hoped it would just go away. Translation: they have no health care plan. While his hardcore supporters continue to cheer the idea of repealing the Affordable Care Act, they generally support the law's provisions. They want to take away the ability of young people to stay on their parents' insurance until age 26.

"I think that's the sweet spot that we might be able to find Democrats and Republicans to come together", he said at the same AXIOS event.

When confronted about that, their answer amounts to, "Well yes, but then after we do that, we'll restore all those things about the ACA that you like".

Trump accuses Democrats of seeking "a socialist takeover of American healthcare", and is certain to take that argument onto the 2020 campaign trail. If this happens, millions will lose health insurance and people with pre-existing conditions could be denied coverage.

  • Delores Daniels