The tax scam pushed through by Republican leadership was done so secretly, so hastily and so outside the normal process that it is full of errors, which was completely predictable. Any massive law is going to have errors because humans have done it. For example, look at the Affordable Care Act. That one did go through an exhaustive legislative process, with hearings and mark-ups and floor amendments and it had one error that Republicans, literally, made a federal case out of.
That would be the cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers—the language of the law didn’t explicitly authorize appropriations to it, though Democrats and the Obama administration argue that the payments are included in general appropriations included in the legislation. Republicans, though, chose to sue President Obama over the discrepancy, rather than do the thing that Congresses have done for decades and decades—make technical corrections to the law. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, though, Republicans are looking for Democrats’ help to fix their law, and are suffering a sudden epidemic of amnesia and denial about the recent past.
On whether Republicans should have fixed the ACA:
- Sen. Jeff Flake: “I don’t know, I don’t remember what we didn’t want to fix. It’s been too long I guess.”
- Sen. John Kennedy: “I wasn’t here then. I can tell you, if somebody pointed out something in legislation that I opposed that was going to hurt somebody unfairly, I would cooperate with them.”
- Sen. Jerry Moran: “I think in both instances, it’s wrong not to fix legislation that has flaws, and Republicans should cooperate on legislation that is supported largely broadly by Democrats and Democrats should help us fix problems. This is about our constituents.”
Amnesia, revisionism and straight-up hypocrisy.
- Sen. Joni Ernst: “Republicans acknowledge [the tax law is] not working the way it was originally intended. Democrats have never acknowledged that Obamacare failed.”
- Sen. John Thune: “Most of the ACA stuff, we kind of wanted to undo the whole thing. This is a technical, unintended consequence that has broad ramifications for both Democrats and Republicans.” […]
- Thune: “This is not a Republican or Democrat problem, it’s a problem that affects farm country, and if we don’t fix it, it’s going to create a lot of disruption.” […]
- Sen. Chuck Grassley: “Surely Democrats have to understand that when you make a mistake like that, it ought to be fixed without bargaining with them on something else.”
Sure, Chuck. But I think we’ve landed on the real problem with trying to make Obamacare work. Apparently no one in red states or in farm country needs access to affordable health care. Or surely Republicans would have been happy to work with Democrats on making sure they could get it.