For seven years, U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell vowed to slay Obamacare if only his Republican Party controlled both chambers of Congress and the White House. Pull it out “root and branch,” he pledged.
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The 75-year-old Senate majority leader now has that luxury.
But instead of basking in the glow of his first major legislative victory in the Donald Trump era, McConnell is what a source close to the majority leader calls “the man in the middle in an impossible spot.”
Late on Monday and again on Tuesday, after a long struggle, McConnell’s efforts to repeal all or portions of former President Barack Obama’s landmark 2010 Affordable Care Act and replace them with less expensive healthcare came crashing down.
With 52 Republican senators in the 100-member chamber, McConnell could lose only two of his colleagues on any bill that was opposed by Democrats and still win with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote.
Three times, he failed to muster the 50 supporters needed.
The man who epitomized “the party of no” in Democrats’ eyes during Obama’s presidency, especially when he slammed the door in February 2016 on Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court nomination, fell victim to the “no” of fellow Republicans.