In their quest to repeal Obamacare once and for all, congressional Republicans ultimately failed because they refused to open up the process. They refused to allow amendments to their bill and they also refused to go to conference and negotiate changes between both chambers.
Congressional Republican leaders had long promised that they would go to conference to 'fix' their un-fixable repeal bill but, during the bill's final hours, they didn't.
Speaker Paul Ryan is saying all the same things about their tax cuts now and there's more than a few reasons that we shouldn't buy it. More importantly, there are reasons why Senate Republicans shouldn't buy it,
Ryan has also tried to head off internal concerns about the Senate bill by promising to go to conference committee and negotiate a compromise, instead of simply swallowing the other chamber’s version. Ryan made a similar promise on the budget earlier this year, but the House ended up having to accept a Senate blueprint that many Republican members despised.
“The House will pass its bill, the Senate will pass its bill, and then we will get together and reconcile the differences, which is the legislative process,” Ryan said last week.
There's concern that Ryan and Brady will get squeezed by an impatient President Donald Trump to accept the Senate bill if the process drags out until the end of the year.
Ryan embracing "the legislative process" is more than a little funny.
I expect the House will manage to advance their bill this week, but it remains to be seen what margin of Republicans will vote against it.
Assuming the House vote is not entirely air-tight, that won't leave a lot of room to negotiate differences with Senate Republicans during a conference meeting. And we already know the Senate bill, if it passes, will pass with a razor-thin margin of 1 or 2 votes.
A conference meeting has the potential to make the bill unpalatable to House Republicans and unpalatable to Senate Republicans.
This is exactly what happened when Republicans tried to repeal Obamacare earlier this year and it ultimately led to them avoiding a conference committee meeting.