In a must-read op-ed for USA Today, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell explains what Senate Democrats did in using the nuclear option to strip the minority of its ability to check and balance on nominations. “After the election of George W. Bush, Democrats in the Senate decided to change the way presidential nominees had been considered for more than two centuries. They embarked on an unprecedented, years-long filibustering frenzy — going so far as to filibuster one judicial nominee seven times, while blocking many other qualified nominees, too. The Republican majority considered deploying the ‘nuclear option’ at the time to end Democrats’ filibustering, but ultimately (and wisely, in my opinion) declined to do so. Then-Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., made this plea: ‘I pray God when the Democrats take back control, we don’t make the (same) kind of naked power grab.’ Well, Thursday they did. . . . This ‘naked power grab,’ as Biden put it, is dangerous for our democracy. Rather than learn from past precedents, Democrats have set yet another one; they will one day regret this one, too, when the Senate majority inevitably changes — as it always does.”
As this was happening in the Senate yesterday, Americans continued to struggle with the consequences of the last time Senate Democrats made a power grab and passed Obamacare with absolutely no check from the minority. As Leader McConnell explained on the floor, the nuclear option “doesn’t distract people from Obamacare. It reminds them of it. It reminds them of all the broken promises. It reminds them of the power grab. It reminds them of the way Democrats set up one set of rules for themselves and another for everybody else. It’s basically the same debate. And rather than distract people from Obamacare, it only reinforces the narrative of a party that is willing to do and say just about anything to get its way. Because that’s just what they’re doing all over again. . . . Look: I get it. As I indicated, I’d want to be talking about something else too if I had to defend dogs getting insurance while millions of Americans lost theirs. But it won’t work. And the parallels between this latest skirmish and the original Obamacare push are just too obvious to ignore. Think about it: The Majority Leader promised over and over again that he wouldn’t break the rules of the Senate in order to change them. On July 14 he went on ‘Meet the Press’ and he said: ‘We’re not touching judges.’ He may as well just have said ‘If you like the rules of the Senate you can keep them.’”
And just like Reid’s promise that “We’re not touching judges,” he also broke his promise to Americans that “if you like the health care you have, you can keep it.” And so did Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), one of the principle authors of Obamacare, who said that “for all Americans – all Americans – premiums will be lower,” and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), a member of Democrat leadership, who said in 2009 that Obamacare “will reduce costs for people.” (Both Baucus and Murray voted for the nuclear option yesterday, too.) USA Today reports, “Sweeping differences in health care exchange pricing among states and counties is leading to sticker shock for some middle-class consumers and others who aren’t eligible for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. . . . The premiums for bronze-level plans are generally the least expensive, but ‘the deductibles are simply not affordable,’ says Laura Stack, a former financial analyst looking for full-time work and using her 401k to pay for health insurance. ‘Many will not be able to afford the per person deductibles before insurance begins to pay. What are you really paying for?’”
As Americans see more and more of these promises broken (as Republicans warned), support for Obamacare keeps dropping. According to Kaiser Health News, “Nearly half of Americans now hold an unfavorable view of the law and only a third like it, according to the poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation. . . . The 16-percentage point gap between positive and negative views is almost the largest it has been since the foundation began its monthly tracking poll in April 2010. . . . Support among Democrats plunged from 70 percent last month to 55 percent. Women, who were split over the merits of the law month, have turned against it, with views mirroring the overall public view this month. . . . With 49 percent of people opposing the law and 33 percent favoring it, the Kaiser poll results are broadly similar to those reported earlier this month by other organizations. A Washington Post-ABC poll found a 57 percent majority against the law, with 40 percent favoring it. Gallup found that 55 percent of people disapprove of the law while 40 percent like it.” It’s worth noting that the Kaiser poll has traditionally been the poll showing higher support for Obamacare than other polls.