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Rep. Jim Jordan offers way out of GOP stalemate in Congress

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says it may not be possible to unite 50 Republicans on any health care overhaul and that the only action may be a collaboration with Democrats to adjust certain parts of the system, an evaluation that a leading House conservative finds unacceptable.

On Thursday, McConnell told a town hall-style event in Kentucky that political realities inside the Senate Republican Conference make it very difficult to find consensus.

“I’m in the position of a guy with a Rubik’s cube, trying to twist the dial in such a way to get at least 50 members of my conference who can agree to a version of repealing and replacing,” said McConnell, according to NBC News. “That is a very timely subject that I’m grappling with as we speak.”

“If Republicans are not able to agree among themselves, the crisis will still be there and we’ll have to figure out the way forward at that point,” added McConnell, who later said that could mean working with Democrats to provide options for Americans in the individual insurance marketplace but have no plans available where they live.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who is also a co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus, says Republicans had an obvious path to avoiding this political mess.

“Sometimes we forget what our responsibilities are in Congress. Some are pretty basic. Do what you told the voters you were going to do. We were very clear over the last six years when we told the American people we were going to repeal Obamacare. That’s what we should have done. That’s what the Freedom Caucus proposed,” said Jordan.

What to today’s top authors have to say about Washington? Find out at the WND Superstore in “Socialism: A Clear and Present Danger,” “Throw Them All Out,” “Inside the Beltway,” “Capitol Punishment” and many more.

Jordan wanted the same approach in the House but didn’t get it.

“I actually introduced that clean repeal, the same bill we voted on [in 2015] that we put on President’s Obama’s desk, we thought we should put it on President Trump’s desk and have a two-year phaseout where we had time to do the replacement. Unfortunately, that’s not the path that was chosen by our leadership,” said Jordan.

While congressional leaders insist Senate rules limit what legislation can pass with a simple majority of votes, Jordan says the passage of the 2015 repeal proves otherwise. On December 3, 2015, the Senate approved the Obamacare repeal by a vote of 52-47.

Hear the interview:

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All current Republican senators who were in office then voted for the repeal, with the lone exception of Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

As many as 14 Republicans have expressed opposition or reservations about the Senate bill, which McConnell pulled off the Senate schedule late last month. Some insist Congress must make good on vows to repeal and replace Obamacare and make sure that any legislation drives down the cost of premiums.

But moderates who are opposed to the measure are upset that there is not a greater role for government, as they demand more generous Medicaid expansion, Planned Parenthood funding, billions for opioid addition treatment or other priorities.

Despite the individual issues raised, Jordan says there’s a more discouraging fact behind the GOP’s inability to move this effort more smoothly.

“When you boil it all down, read Byron York’s column a few months back, where he said that the reason that Republicans aren’t doing a full repeal is because some Republicans don’t want to repeal Obamacare.

Jordan suggests that fact can be seen in how some GOP members are worried about limiting Medicaid expansion just 18 months after backing a much more conservative approach.

“That bill said Medicaid expansion goes away after two years. You don’t add to it. You don’t phase it out. It’s done. It’s a two-year wind down and the expansion part is no longer the law. That’s what we passed a year ago. Now we can’t do it, so that’s the frustrating thing for all of us,” said Jordan.

But all hope is not lost. Jordan says the Senate could be salvaged from a conservative perspective if lawmakers there embrace an amendment from Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah.

“The Cruz Amendment creates what we call freedom of choice or a consumer choice option, which would say as long as an insurance company provides one plan in each category that meets with all the Obamacare regulations, they could then also offer any other plan that consumers and patients also want,” said Jordan.

“That would be moving us back toward a market that would bring down premiums for so many families and just makes good common sense to me. If that amendment goes in, I think the bill is good and you would see conservatives support it on the House side. Let’s see if that amendment gets in the Senate bill,” said Jordan.

While some Republicans in Washington bemoan the complexity of the issue and the legislative process, Jordan says the business owners and families in his district see things very clearly.

“Traveling in our district, we hear from employers all the time. Even this morning they said, ‘Here’s what’s happened to our health care costs.’ These aren’t even people who are in the small group or the individual market. They’re in the large group market. They’re costs are going up too.

“They want changes. They know what Obamacare has done. They want changes there, they want changes in the tax code. They want us to do what we said. They want us to secure the border,” said Jordan.

“Let’s get after doing what we told them we were going to do. After all, that’s what our job is. We better get doing that and the sooner the better,” said Jordan.

What to today’s top authors have to say about Washington? Find out at the WND Superstore in “Socialism: A Clear and Present Danger,” “Throw Them All Out,” “Inside the Beltway,” “Capitol Punishment” and many more.

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