In the latest humiliation for the Trump White House, after the recent news that Senator John McCain apparently won’t support the Republican Graham-Cassidy health insurance reform bill on allegedly procedural grounds, now it has been revealed that the Trump Administration has sought the help of an already-avowed opponent and Cabinet bridesmaid: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
In a timely case of payback, the perennially-overlooked Christie revealed Trump’s desperation, announcing the White House called Christie trying to flip the beach aficionado who was infamously captured cavorting on a state-owned beach with friends and family while he had it closed down in a ploy to strong-arm state legislators into allowing his office to seize so-called excess reserves of the state’s largest health insurance company (which come from policyholders’ premiums) and reallocate them for opioid addiction services.
McCain’s opposition appears to be procedural, while the bill’s supporters are aware of the fast-approaching end of the current fiscal year.
Should the bill be passed on or before next Saturday, September 30th, the bill would require only a simple Senate majority of 50 votes (assuming that Vice President Mike Pence would cast a tie-breaking vote in favor) because it could be structured in the form of a budget reconciliation bill. Once October arrives and the new fiscal year begins, any bill passed would be subject to an almost-certain Democratic filibuster for which supporters would need 60 votes. That level of support is thought highly unlikely.
McCain has expressed concerns about any reform bill passed in the next week without the customary hearing process. McCain (and others) have argued that any reform, with its far-ranging effects on a major chunk of the American economy, warrants more than a rushed hearing process.
But there’s more
Enter Christie. The New Jersey governor and one-time stage prop for candidate Trump has been contacted by the White House in an apparent attempt to enlist his support for the reform bill.
However, Christie has been passed over (or consciously rejected) for at least several Cabinet or other Administration posts. Those public rejections may be behind the leak today of the apparent White House overtures to Christie, whose popularity in his home state of New Jersey has been hovering for months at the 15 percent level — and this was before his infamous beach party photo shoot.
Whether one supports or opposes this particular reform bill, these current events show that Washington Republicans are far from united, and that even Capitol Hill Republicans are divided on several fault lines.
In the meantime, the severely flawed Obamacare regime continues its downward death spiral, consigning ever-more middle and working class Americans to higher premiums, higher deductibles, ever-shrinking networks of participating doctors and hospitals (the legal parlance is “providers”) and ever-greater uncertainty about those providers continuing in their plans or even that those plans will continue to be offered by participating insurance companies.