Typically when Congress moves to make legislation that affects a major portion of the economy of the United States, they take months, if not years to debate what such changes could mean for all Americans. With their push to replace the Affordable Care Act, however, they have done the exact opposite. It’s actually almost unbelievable the way in which Senate Republicans are hiding a bill which could have a major impact on approximately 16.6% of the U.S. economy, not to mention the lives of tens of millions of Americans. Even some within the GOP are questioning the strategy being used by their colleagues in the Senate, with Senator John McCain joking that he hadn’t even seen the secret healthcare bill, but he was ‘sure the Russians have been able to hack in’ to see it.
All joking aside, this is not normal, not even for the GOP, and that brings up the likely reason why they are in such a rush. The number one issue dogging the GOP since Trump’s inauguration approximately five months ago, has been the Russia story. The possibility that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in order to win the 2016 Presidential election, and the possible fallout if in fact such collusion is proven, is already driving a wedge between many Republicans. That wedge will certainly widen if in fact collusion is a foregone conclusion, meaning that any legislation that the GOP wishes to ram through, must be done ASAP.
“I think there is a chance that they think this Russia story is going to be the dominant narrative over the course of 2017 and 2018, so if they get this thing done as quickly as possible with as little public debate, maybe the public’s attention and the media’s attention will very quickly shift,” said Senator Chris Murphy during an interview on MSNBC yesterday.
So what does the GOP know that the public may not? Perhaps the few within the GOP who have been privy to the classified briefings related to Trump/Russia are warning their colleagues in the Senate that it’s ‘now or never’. Is the other shoe about to drop in the investigation? Could it be weeks before a major turning point in the investigation takes place, limiting the GOP’s ability to govern? It seems that way, and Claude Taylor, a former staff member of the Bill Clinton Administration, seems to agree.
“Cap Hill source tells me ‘GOP anxious to ram through healthcare because they believe more news on Russia coming’ (which will halt agenda),” tweeted Taylor.
There is only one rational explanation as to why the GOP is rushing to get a new healthcare bill voted on, perhaps as soon as next week. That reason seems to be that they know that they only have a very limited time frame to push the bill through before the public turns on them and the President.