U.S. President Donald Trump is celebrating his victory in the vote on health care reform. Nevertheless, the Senate could abruptly end the success.
It was like a scene from a political satire. While demonstrators were protesting in the streets of Manhattan, Donald Trump sat in a black tuxedo below deck of the decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Intrepid on the city's West Side, and he was in a glowing mood. “Big day,” he said to his guest, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. “Big day,” the guest answered duty-bound. “It was a very big day,” raved Trump. “You got it. We had a couple left over … we didn’t need them.”
The president’s euphoric comment had nothing to do with Turnbull. Instead, Trump was still inebriated on Thursday evening after the close but successful vote on his health care reform in the House of Representatives.
In the afternoon, in Washington, D.C., he had already invited all of the Republican representatives to a victory celebration in the Rose Garden of the White House. “OK, I'm President! Hey, I'm President! Do you believe it? Right?" he rejoiced, as if Congress had given him a few happy pills. Now, political productions are not unusual in American politics. What is noteworthy is that Trump invoked the successful vote again and again; however, he did not use a single sentence to go into the concrete content of his health care law, called “Trumpcare.”
The law is also in no way enacted, but instead has just cleared the first and smaller hurdle. Yet Trump achieved an important political success on the 105th day of his extremely bumpy term of office, and he is apparently determined to wring the most out of it. The message is: The Republicans can govern and they are implementing their campaign promises.
But for that, he must first get “Trumpcare” through the Senate. And the signals from his party friends in the Senate sound pretty reserved. “I’m still waiting to see if it’s a boy or a girl,” bantered the influential Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham about the bill.
In fact, Trump whipped the legislation through Congress with high pressure and without the customary hearings. It appears impossible that the Senate will simply adopt the bill. “We’re writing a Senate bill and not passing the House bill,” Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander announced confidently.
With the draft of the bill, Trump has gone far toward the right wing of his party. Virtually freeing the insurance companies from the requirement of insuring people with pre-existing conditions under the same terms has appalled doctors, hospitals and also the insurance companies in part. That does not leave many senators who are demanding improvements cold. If Trump pulls a few unsocial teeth under pressure from the moderates, he is in danger of losing the market radicals.
In any case, it might take weeks or months until the Senate votes on the plan. Republican Sen. Morgan Griffith probably spoke for many colleagues when he explained that he first of all wanted to read the law.