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Rand Paul Wins Big on ‘Skinny Repeal’ After Multiple Meetings With Trump

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Today’s “skinny repeal” plan for Obamacare was a big win for Senator Rand Paul, who had come up with this fallback strategy during discussions with President Donald Trump.

Senate Republicans will now move ahead with their Obamacare repeal debate, after a tie breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence. Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska went against their party and voted “no” along with the Democrats. Not a single Democrat voted yes.

The aim now will be to repeal three key parts of Obamacare, the individual and employer mandates and the medical device tax.

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Senator Paul had opposed previous versions of replacement plans which he referred to as “Obamacare-lite,” and became a crucial voice in coming to an agreement that would work.

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“Renaming and keeping parts of Obamacare, new entitlements and extending medicaid expansion are not the #FullRepeal we promised,” he tweeted in March.

In several conversations, in person and on the phone, sources tell Big League Politics that Senator Paul and President Trump discussed how the senator could get to a “yes” vote. On the one hand, there were many policy issues that could be fixed. But on the other hand, Senator Paul was willing to vote for a “skinny” or smaller version of a clean repeal, as long as it did not have the massive spending and insurance bailouts of the Senate leadership bill.

As discussions continued with the president, Paul brought this “skinny repeal” plan to Senate leadership multiple times. Today, he was given what he asked for.

In order for Paul to vote “yes,” Senate had to agree to a clean vote on the 2015 repeal (which they previously passed) along with the Senate leader bill (BCRA), which needed a 60-vote threshold to pass, which meant that it was surely unable to pass — as they did not have Democrat votes. If those failed, they would move to passing a repeal of as many mandates and taxes as they could agree on.

While this isn’t the full repeal that Paul was after, it is clean and avoids the additional spending and bailouts.

Prior to the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called Obamacare a “failed left-wing experiment.” He added that he was in agreement with President Trump, that “any senator who votes against starting a debate is telling America that you are fine with the Obamacare nightmare, and that it’s a “position even Democrats have found hard to defend.”

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Congress

House Republicans Hoping to Get Americans Back to Work By End of April

It’s a aspiration, not a plan.

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House Republicans are considering plans that would help Americans get back to work by the end of the month. Kevin Brady of Texas told reporters on a conference call that the caucus is preparing preliminary plans that phase the workforce back in at the end of April.

Our focus is on locking down the virus while we’re taking the steps now to prepare to reopen the economy by the end of the month if the virus permits.”

Brady was careful to qualify that there’s no guarantee the public health situation in the United States would allow such a development.

“I think we should all expect the jobs, the unemployment in the GDP numbers to feel brutal over the short term. It’s because they are. This economy is taking hits like we’ve not seen in most of our lifetimes. But it is just a short-term hit.

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Initial social distancing guidelines set forth by the White House in conjunction with the CDC were extended from two weeks to April 30th earlier in the week, suggesting the executive branch may be cautiously looking towards the end of April to begin phasing out the unprecedented disruptions to everyday American life.

It is worth noting that an early cease to social distancing and commonsense measures to deter the spread of the Chinese coronavirus could prove to be even more harmful than the negative impacts to the economy since the beginning of the virus-related recession. This can’t be rushed. But the consequences of the economic damage are real, and all Americans should look to get everyday economic life up and running against as soon as possible.

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