Nobody told House Minority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) that the Republican Party was joking.
He apparently read the GOP’s 2012 “Growth and Opportunity Project” autopsy’s recommendations and thought Republicans were actually trying to act as if they care about people who can’t afford lobbyists for their beach house. So the congressman went to work.
Cantor came up with a bill that at least appeared to help those Americans who have been denied by insurers because of pre-existing conditions and weren’t being helped by Obamacare. He even gave it one of those names that you can’t vote against without shaming everyone in your gene pool — The Helping Sick Americans Now Act.
The response from the conservative base was as predictable as it was loud. Fix Obamacare? Accept the results of the 2012 election? Appear willing to help extremely sick people? Oh, hell no.
The right-wing blog Red State decided that for the very first time they would “score” a vote.
“Vote no or you’ll get on our scorecard as someone who voted to help fix Obamacare and save it,” wrote Red State’s L.Ron Hubbard-figure Erick Erickson — one of the chief proponents of using the debt limit as a hostage to demand cuts, a gambit that cost America as much as $18.9 billion.
Erickson’s bluster was matched by the Heritage Foundation and the walking embodiment of the GOP’s “only worry about primaries” strategy, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). And before the bill could be voted on and that vote “scored,” the Republican leadership pulled the bill.
It’s become the consensus in Washington that there’s a Civil War going in the House Republican caucus. Politico‘s Jake Sherman explains:
In one camp are stiff ideologues who didn’t extract any lesson from Mitt Romney’s loss and are only looking to slash spending and defund President Barack Obama’s health care law at every turn. In the other are lawmakers who are aligned with Cantor, who is almost singularly driving an agenda which is zeroed in on family issues.
And who’s winning?
On Friday, Cantor sent a memo to House Republicans promising they would vote to repeal Obamacare for the 37th time.
Why a 37th vote to demonstrate that you have no actual power to repeal Obamacare? Apparently some Republicans need to lose their repealing Obamacare “virginity.”
“If you’re a freshman, the guys who’ve been up here the last year — we can go home and say, ‘Listen, we voted 36 different times to repeal or replace Obamacare.’ — tell me what the new guys are supposed to say,” Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) explained recently in a talk at the Heritage Foundation. “We haven’t had a repeal or replace vote this year.”