“We’re telling those people that we’re not going to pull the rug out from under them, and if we do this too fast, we are in fact going to pull the rug out from under them.”
– Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J)
“The fact is, we cannot repeal Obamacare through reconciliation. We need to understand exactly: what does that reconciliation market look like. And I haven’t heard the answer yet.”
– Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif)
“It sounds like we are going to be raising taxes on the middle class in order to pay for these new tax credits.”
– Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La)
These quotes, and many others, from a leaked recording of the Republican closed-door strategy session in Philadelphia last week are both jarring and reassuring.
They reveal in harsh light what the media, pundits, and commentators have been saying for weeks: the Trump administration and congressional Republicans are in a deep quandary about the best path forward on repeal and replace, and are just beginning to weigh the pros and cons of the complex policy options involved.
But the discussion also shows us that rank and file Republican lawmakers understand the difficulty of the task and know the political price they’ll pay if they screw it up. Their remarks also imply frustration with the cavalier, ill-informed, and mixed-message statements coming out of the White House.