I think we already knew Republicans have exhausted their options for repealing the Affordable Care Act in is entirety, but Politico reports that Republicans aren't even talking about doing so in private anymore.
Although we're just one week away from a possible government shutdown, Republicans are at a policy "retreat" in West Virginia where they're discussing their plans for the rest of the year. Details on what exactly they're discussing are scarce, but Politico reports that repealing Obamacare isn't being seriously discussed or considered at all.
The most telling detail of their report is that GOP leaders have no plans to pass a budget resolution that would even allow them to repeal the law.
Republicans doubt they can even pass a budget providing for the powerful party-line “reconciliation” procedure used to pass tax reform last year, much less take on the politically perilous task of rewriting health care laws in an election year. [...]
“It would be a heavy lift. I think everybody knows,” said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the No. 3 GOP leader. “We sort of tested the limits of what we can do in the Senate last year. And we’re one vote down from where we were then.” [...]
“I don’t think we’re going to get a budget. And without a budget I don’t think we can do reconciliation,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.). “When you hear the leader speak, he’s speaking about bipartisanship. So I think that’s the direction we’re going to go in this year.”
It has previously been reported that congressional Republicans would not pass a budget resolution this year and this report seemingly corroborates that.
This is significant because, if they don't pass a budget resolution, they can't use the reconciliation process for anything. And it's not just Obamacare that's on the line as long as Republicans control Congress. Speaker Paul Ryan's grand plans for gutting the safety net and privatizing Medicare are dead on arrival if Republicans don't give themselves an opportunity to use the reconciliation process to bypass filibusters from Senate Democrats.
If we assume that their vague overtures of "bipartisanship" are mostly bullshit, and if they don't set up the reconciliation process, this Congress may already be in lame-duck territory before the spring even arrives.
The next several weeks will tell us if this Congress will do anything at all this year.
Most Americans will probably be better off if Congress does nothing this year, but I can't say the same for DREAMers and others immigrants who will likely be stuck in limbo until Republicans are kicked out of Washington.