RUSH: TheHill.com: GOP Senator: We don’t have enough power to repeal Obamacare. No! No ho-ho! We gave you the House. You said you needed the Senate, we gave you the Senate. You said, “We don’t have the White House, we need the White House.” Now you’ve got it all. You got the House, the Senate, the White House, and pretty soon you’re gonna have the Supreme Court. Not enough power to repeal Obamacare.
I’ve had people e-mailing me, folks, I have to tell you this. Trump voters — and they’re watching all of this stuff go on out there with Australia and with Mexico and the sanctions on Iran. And there are people sending me notes, not a sizable number, but I think it represents a big number, and they’re saying, “I don’t care about this stuff right now. Where is the Obamacare repeal? Where are the tax cuts? Where is the domestic agenda of Obama being turned upside down and inside out?” And some people are starting to get a little impatient. That’s why I asked Vice President Pence when he was here on — what day was he here? He was Wednesday or Thursday? This is Friday. Yeah, it wasn’t yesterday.
He assured us on the infrastructure spending. He assured us that the Obamacare repeal was on track. This senator is Ron Johnson from Wisconsin. He said he is warning — and again, it’s TheHill.com. I don’t know what’s fake news anymore. This is another thing that it is incumbent upon me to include on practically everything we report today. It could have elements of fake news in it. It is stunning how much fake news there is and how much it is expanding.
But this is what TheHill.com is saying. “Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is warning that the GOP can only do so much to repeal ObamaCare, downplaying lawmakers’ ability to completely dismantle the law. ‘We only have so much power to repeal certain elements of ObamaCare through reconciliation — 51 votes — the taxes, the subsidies,’ Johnson told CNN on Friday morning. ‘So many of the market reforms — I would call them the market distortions — that have caused premiums to skyrocket and out-of-pocket maximums and deductibles to skyrocket, those are probably going to need 60 votes.'” And we don’t have 60 votes. We only have 52 votes. “And it doesn’t sound like the Democrats are really willing to bear the responsibility of the mess they created.”
So he’s saying essentially that with 51 votes through reconciliation, which is how Obamacare was passed anyway. It was passed with budget reconciliation — look, I’m not gonna take the time to explain that right now. Suffice it to say that going the reconciliation route obviates the need for 60 votes because they didn’t have 60, Obama didn’t have 60 votes for this either ’cause he didn’t have a single Republican vote. They had to do trick after trick after trick to get the Democrats unified. They had to lie to Bart Stupak — remember that? — about the bill being pro-life or not. It’s just a bunch of garbage in there.
Anyway, Ron Johnson is saying that through reconciliation they can repeal the taxes and the subsidies, but when it comes to the premiums and when it comes to the deductibles (imitating Johnson), “Oh, I don’t know what we’re gonna be able to do about it ’cause we’re gonna need 60 votes and the Democrats aren’t gonna be there to help us.” This reads like a Saturday Night Live script to me. Republicans have won everything there is to win and they still are saying there’s not enough power. Now we need 60 votes.
This is gonna be coupled with some people’s suspicion that they don’t really want to do this. That some Republicans really don’t want to repeal Obamacare. Have you heard the new terminology now? By the way, they’re throwing out “repeal and replace” with “repeal and repair.” And so there’s a growing sentiment out here that some Republicans, don’t know how many, don’t even want to tackle it. It’s too hard, it’s fraught with too many unknowns that could backfire, you know, electorally or politically.
RUSH: Hey, look, this Ron Johnson story, Senator Johnson, Wisconsin, and the inability to do anything about the premiums and the deductibles and the mandates and all that in Obamacare. I’ll answer some more questions for you on this in the next segment. But he’s basically saying that we don’t have 60 votes, and the Senate parliamentarian is telling us that we can’t use reconciliation on the premium side of things. Are you telling me that the Republican majority is gonna sit there and let an unelected Senate parliamentarian rule over them?
Of course they’re going to because they don’t really want to replace Obamacare, folks. We’ve known this from the get-go, from the moment this was passed. What about all of those fake resolution votes on repealing Obamacare? What did we say when this first passed? The danger of it passing in the first place is that it becomes an entitlement and we can’t think of one that’s been repealed. Well, there’s one entitlement that has been removed after it was implemented. That was the Dan “Rosty” Rostenkowski Medicare whatever it was.
The seasoned citizens didn’t want any part of it so it was repealed. But it becomes an entitlement, and the Republicans just don’t have the stomach for taking away what they think is a government giveaway and a freebie and leaving people uninsured. But this is absurd, that they’ve won everything there is to win out there and still don’t have the power because of the Senate parliamentarian. But that’s their story and they’re gonna stick with it.
RUSH: We’ll go to Christina in Fresno. Great to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Great. Hello. I just wanted to point out the hypocrisy of our elected. Whenever there’s a new tax or mandate like Obamacare, that very next tax return, the IRS is there ready to enact that penalty. But you got long-standing immigration law, and all of a sudden, not so fast, you can’t deport the families. It’s hypocrisy.
RUSH: Yeah, you’re right. On the Obamacare thing though, I want to be historically complete here. I understand exactly what you’re saying. We’ve got a set of laws on immigration, and they will not, up to now, enforce them. They have not been enforcing them left and right. But when it comes to a tax, when it comes to an audit, when it comes to a mandate that you buy something, they’re right in there monitoring everything you do, making sure you pay everything you owe instantly.
On Obamacare, the thing that you have to remember on this is, it’s a minor point in a big scheme, but the Republicans never voted for it, and it’s important to remember this, and that’s why the Democrats had to use all kind of tricks to get this passed, including budget resolution. They made Obamacare part of the budget. The whole thing was never actually voted on. There were never any hearings on Obamacare. They never brought in any experts to testify what would happen if this part of the bill is implemented. There were no hearings whatsoever.
This thing was ramrodded down our throats, most often under cover of darkness, and it was just put in that year’s budget. That’s what reconciliation is, for the most part. It’s a more convoluted thing. And budget reconciliation, because of the debt limit and because of the mandates that the U.S. pay its bills, there are never 60 votes demanded for budget, only 51.
Okay, now the Republicans are saying that they can only repeal certain parts of this through budget reconciliation where they don’t need 60 votes. And they’re then saying the parliamentarian, who’s probably a lifelong Obama federal employee. Heck, I don’t know. I don’t know who the parliamentarian is, but they’re saying that for anything related to the insurance companies, include the mandates, the premiums, the minimums, the deductibles, we have to do 60 votes.
The parliamentarian’s saying we can’t do that through the budget, and we don’t have 60 votes, we don’t have the power. That’s what they’re saying. But there isn’t any hypocrisy here in the sense that they never voted for it. I mean, it’s a bunch of tax increases, it’s a bunch of Big Government. The Republicans, there’s not a single Republican that voted for this. I wanted to make sure that’s squared in your comment about hypocrisy, lumped in on.
RUSH: Now, back to this Obamacare business, because, folks, look. We’re gonna get… We touched on this stuff yesterday. Mexico and Australia. If you were here yesterday, you got pretty much all the detail about that. You’ve now probably been exposed to a whole bunch of fake news about it, distortions and misreporting, and Trump has had his morning tweets, which we’ll get to. We talked yesterday about the sanctions on Iran and getting tough there, over their cheating on the nuke deal. You know, all of that’s what it is.
Trump is indeed focusing on elements of his campaign that he seriously promised: saving jobs, bringing jobs back, working out different versions of trade deals. And there’s no question that he’s moving fast. He’s moving faster than any president in my lifetime. He’s moving faster than the media can keep up with. He’s moving faster than anybody can keep up with, at least in terms of bringing the issues up and making it look like action’s taking place on them. I mean, it’s a breakneck pace.
But over there on Capitol Hill, there’s an entire other part of the Trump agenda which is just languishing. And that part of the Trump agenda is repealing Obamacare, which he promised as strongly and stringently as he did to fix NAFTA and bring jobs back. There is tax cuts and the reform of the tax code. You know, I mentioned it at the top of the program. I’m hearing from people that were dyed-in-the wool, eager-beaver Trump supporters who are worried that he’s not gotten there and were hoping this was gonna be first.
This Obamacare repeal, you know, that’s sitting there. If that doesn’t happen, Trump may not be enough to save the Republicans. If this doesn’t happen after all of this, after all of these promises, after all these assurances, after all the assurances that the plan’s in a place… We’ve been told the replacement plan’s in place. We doubted it from the get-go. You go back to the transcripts of this program and I’m sure you could find a number of occasions where I warned everybody that if left to their own devices, the Republicans would prefer not to touch this because it’s an entitlement.
They’re from the Washington establishment. Their mind-set is of the old Washington establishment. Trump is the only thing new and to them. He’s responsible for all of the upset and the instability, and that’s what they want to normalize. When they say they want to normalize things, it means they want to neuter Trump. They want to cut Trump down to size, they want to slow Trump down, which is another subject I’m gonna be getting into in some detail this afternoon. So hang in there and be tough.
This morning, for those of you in the Pacific and Western time zones. But the bottom line is, I’ve always had my concerns that lip service was what we were getting on Obamacare because, A, it involves two things. It’s is an entitlement, and those just don’t get repealed. And the second thing is, it’s health care and it’s insurance. And this is one of those instances where image trumps reality. And if the image is, if the perception is that a lot of people have insurance who didn’t and then the Republicans come along and repeal it and replace it?
Then they think they fear they’re gonna be open to allegations that they are taking people’s health insurance away from them and that they are taking people’s health care away from them. And they don’t want to go there. They don’t think they have a chance in explaining their side of the deal to the media and having it reported fairly and honestly to people. And they’re right about that. But we have the election returns, and we know what people who showed up in large numbers to vote for the Republicans and for Trump, we know why.
Reforming, repealing, replacing, getting rid of Obamacare is right up at the top. Immigration’s right up at the top. Closing the border, securing the border, keeping bad elements out of the country, right at the top. Reclaiming this country from the leftist fringe that was trying to transform it. Rebuilding the American economy and creating American jobs. All of these things. Obamacare and tax cut reform — tax code reform — was right at the top of all these lists. Now, I want to go to the audio sound bites because we have Senator Johnson who was on CNN’s New Day today, talk Chris Cuomo, and he said, “Look, Obamacare has always had problems, and I’m listening to you guys, and I don’t hear you say ‘repeal and replace.’ I’m hearing you say ‘repeal and repair.’ Is that what it’s come down to you to now?”
JOHNSON: When I’m talking about repair, I’m talking about repairing all the damage done by Obamacare. Obamacare has created this enormous mess, this big mess, and I’m trying to fix that big mess. I don’t think Obamacare is fixable, quite honestly, and the other reality is, we only have so much power to repeal just certain elements of Obamacare through reconciliation, 51 votes, the taxes, the subsidies, but so many of the market reforms I would call them the market distortions that have caused premiums to skyrocket and out of pocket maximums and deductibles to skyrocket. Those we’re probably gonna need 60 votes and it doesn’t sound like the Democrats are really willing to bear the responsibility of the mess they created.
RUSH: Okay. So I’ll now defer to the USA Today piece on this. What he’s basically saying when he says, “We don’t have the power,” translated it means we don’t have 60 votes. We could only do so much of this with 51 votes. With 51 votes, we will be able to deal with some of the tax cuts, and we’ll be able to deal with some of the other things, but when it comes to the insurance parts of this, when it comes to the premiums, when it comes to minimums and maximums, we’re not gonna have a chance to touch those because those need 60 votes!
Okay, well, that, then, opens a question, why do they need 60 votes? Who in the world is saying they need 60 votes? And Johnson and some of the Republicans said, “Well, we can only do so much of this with budget reconciliation.” That would be the tax side. We can’t do all of it with budget reconciliation. Why can’t we do it all with budget reconciliation? They passed the whole thing with budget reconciliation. Why can’t we do it with repeal and replace? Because the Senate parliamentarian says so, don’t you know.
The Senate parliamentarian, for those of you Rio Linda, is the guy in charge of the rules and how the Senate operates. He’s the expert in it, and on occasion there’s deference to the guy. But here’s the timeline. This is what we were told. Republicans, before certain elections, said we need the House if we’re gonna repeal Obamacare, so we gave ’em the House. But then nothing happened. They said, “That’s right, we need the Senate. We can’t do anything because Obama’s still in the oval office, we can’t do anything, we need the Senate.” We gave ’em the Senate in the 2014 midterms.
And then they said, “Well, that’s really great, we appreciate it, but we need the White House. I mean, we need all three, White House, House, Senate to be able to do this.” So we elected Trump. And Trump was running also on repeal and replace Obamacare. So everything that our dear Republicans said they needed, they got.
And so now, after voters have delivered, it has now come down to an unelected Senate parliamentarian standing in their way. We are to believe that a majority of elected senators cannot overrule the parliamentarian. “That’s right, Mr. Limbaugh, our hands are tied.” (imitating McCain) “That’s right. That’s right. I’ve been here a long time and I looked at it, Limbaugh, and I know you’d like to tell the guy to stuff it. We can’t. We can’t.”
So they’re saying that they cannot repeal the regulations on insurance companies by reconciliation, only the mandates and taxes. However, my friends, the regulations on the insurance companies, which is what drives the costs up and makes the mandates and taxes necessary, is obviously inextricably linked to the mandates and taxes. You can’t have the mandates and taxes going up and down without the action taken on the insurance companies, on the premiums and the maximums.
But then again, who cares what the parliamentarian thinks? This is just common sense. Saying they can’t repeal the regulations on insurance companies by reconciliation, even though the whole thing was passed that way, they can only do the mandates and taxes, the mandate to buy insurance and the tax, they can roll those back, they can get rid of those, but the regulations on the insurance companies, which is where the premium skyrocketing occurs and the minimums and the deductibles and all that, we can’t, we need 60 votes for that. Parliamentarian says so.
So it looks like to us, you know, from the outside looking in, that they’re just looking for reasons not to do it. And we know why. I mean, the minute this thing was implemented we knew there was gonna be overwhelming fear of actually repealing it, ’cause it’s taking away. That’s Santa Claus going back down the chimney on December 27th and taking everything back to the North Pole, in their minds, and they don’t want to be that Santa Claus.