Early Returns

Repeal and Replace Dies Again. So?

Jonathan Bernstein's morning links.

Soul searching.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Repeal and replace is dead. Again. Perhaps for good this time.

But perhaps not. Here's what matters now:

  • Will Republicans in Congress hear a sustained, effective push from the White House to revive a viable bill? 
  • Will Republicans in Congress hear a sustained, effective push from Republican-aligned interest groups?
  • Will Republicans in Congress hear from rank-and-file Republican constituents who are outraged that the promise they ran on for the last seven years may disappear without a vote?

We know the answer to the first one: No one expects any kind of serious effort from this White House and this president.

The other two? As far as I could tell from the reporting, there was very little evidence the other two times the bill died (once in the House, once in the Senate) that either Republican party actors or Republican voters cared about this very much. Perhaps this time will be different; perhaps organized groups within the party are making noise that elected politicians can hear but we can't. 

Mitch McConnell says that he's going to ask for a vote on a repeal-and-delay plan, but there are many good reasons that collapsed earlier this year, and none of those reasons have changed. If they do take that vote, it will almost certainly be only because the Republican conference wants to be on record (both for and against). 

In other words, a repeal-and-delay vote, if it happens, would be for show. A real attempt to revive this bill? Only if either the Republican Party or its voters demands it. 

1. Norm Ornstein on the congressional process for considering the Republican health-care bill. 

2. Nina Tannenwald at the Monkey Cage on the United Nations movement against nuclear weapons

3. I missed this over the weekend, but it's still good: Henry Farrell and Steven Teles on intellectual conspiracy-mongering from the left.

4. Harry Enten on Donald Trump's approval ratings

5. Scott Monje on what the Russians were up to.

6. Susan Glasser interviews Elizabeth Drew on Trump and Richard Nixon.

7. And if you need something new to worry about, my Bloomberg View colleague Noah Smith has it: the threats to politics and the economy from digital video forgeries. 

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This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

    To contact the author of this story:
    Jonathan Bernstein at jbernstein62@bloomberg.net

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    Brooke Sample at bsample1@bloomberg.net

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