For GOP, Health-Care Saga Becomes Deepening Test Of Credibility

When Republicans swept last November’s elections, the sky appeared to be the limit. Obamacare would be repealed and replaced. The tax system would be overhauled. American infrastructure would at last get a major infusion of cash.

All of this may yet happen, but promises of speedy change haven’t materialized. Health-care reform is stalled in the Senate, and the details of tax reform are still on the drawing board. Then there’s President Trump, who has complicated efforts to revive health reform by suggesting “repeal first, replace later” – a stark turnabout from his pledge to do both at once.

And in eye-popping fashion, Mr. Trump has sucked the oxygen away from policy altogether since last Thursday with sensational tweets attacking the media personalities and outlets – most recently a video of Trump body-slamming a “CNN” avatar.

But it’s congressional Republicans whose credibility is on the line, foremost. After eight years of Barack Obama, and years of symbolic votes to undo the Affordable Care Act (ACA), they now have an ally in the White House – one who is eager to sign major legislation.

Since Trump won the presidency, “the Republican Party, particularly in Congress, has not understood that their job is to govern,” says GOP strategist Ford O’Connell. “And when you govern, sometimes you have to man up and walk the plank.”

That means voting for legislation you don’t love, and that may even cost some members reelection. And for both leaders and rank-and-file members, it means developing the “muscle memory” of legislative give-and-take – not just on symbolic measures, but also on bills that could become law.

Read more from Linda Feldmann at The Christian Science Monitor 

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