Ordinary Republicans are finally beginning to admit they may have permanently lost their chance to repeal Obamacare.
Despite promises from prominent lawmakers to try again in 2018, a number of conservative legislators have, for the first time, come public with their doubts.
“Personally, I don’t see it,” said Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN), as quoted by Politico.com. “I just don’t see how you can reconcile a bill you’ve taken two whiffs at and couldn’t get the votes.”
Other representatives, like Kevin Kramer of North Dakota, said his expectations were on the fence.
“I’d say it’s 50-50,” Kramer said, referring to his expectations of the Obamacare repeal’s eventual resurrection.
Politico speculates that the GOP largely feels torn between its priorities and the promises they’ve made to donors and constituents alike.
Repealing the Affordable Care Act – with or without replacement – has been one of the Republican Party’s central focuses since former President Barack Obama signed it into law. A repeal was among the greatest promises of the Trump presidency, which has now failed repeatedly to muster enough support from within the GOP itself to push through any viable form of legislation.
Other House Republicans seemed unsure of whether any attempt in 2018 would meet with success in the Senate, which rejected both of the major efforts at repeal-and-replace and repeal.
“Anytime you fumble twice, there’s the anticipation that you’ll fumble for the third time,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), chairman of the House’s conservative Freedom Caucus. “Do Senate Republicans have “credibility?” Yes. Believability? Perhaps no.”
Politico notes that any attempt for the House to try moving back forward with an Obamacare repeal would require the use of a fast-track legislative reconciliation process – at the risk of any bill forwarded to the Senate being discarded for a third time.
House Republicans’ cynicism on the prospect of moving forward seems to lay much of the blame for their failure on the floor of the Senate.
“I’m one guy out of 535,” said Rep. Roe. “I’ve done all I can do, and so has everyone in the House.”
However, Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) said he thinks conservatives should keep fighting.
“I’d like to do it on the third try. I can’t guarantee it,” he said. “But I can guarantee this: There will be a fourth try and a fifth try and a sixth try and a seventh try.”