This morning, Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Auburn) announced he would vote against a bill to replace Obamacare with Trumpcare. He’d spent weeks on the fence before announcing this morning, shortly before the vote itself, that he’d vote “no.”
Reichert described his vote as an act of principled opposition to bad legislation. He told The Seattle Times that despite pressure from the House GOP leadership to vote in favor, “I have to do what I think is right.
“I am in the world of politics, but I am like an oddity here. I am the sheriff,” said the former sheriff. “What are they going to do? Shoot me? Stab me? I’ve been stabbed before.”
That’s one hell of a pullquote. But for many of the constituents who pressured Reichert to vote “no,” the former sheriff declared his opposition to Trumpcare too late to get much credit for it. Here’s the argument:
1. House Republicans wouldn’t have scheduled another Trumpcare vote until they knew they had the votes to pass it.
2. House Republicans announced today’s Trumpcare vote before Reichert announced he would vote against it.
3. Therefore, the House Republicans (and presumably Reichert) knew it had enough votes to pass Trumpcare before Reichert declared his opposition.
4. Therefore, it is plausible that instead of defying House Republicans, Reichert was allowed by them to vote “no” in order to insulate him from voter backlash in his notably purple district.
Catherine Williams, leader of Indivisibles Covington, an anti-Trump group in Reichert’s District 8, says that Reichert waited until it was safe to come out against Trumpcare. “It is absolutely political,” she says. “He just waited to give his ‘no’ vote until after they’d scheduled the vote in the House…He’s thinking about his seat, supposing we’ll all be happy about his ‘no’ vote.”
If so, the Representative should prepare for disappointement. Lindsay Walsh, a member of Indivisibles Washington 8th District, says Reichert “gets absolutely no credit from me for making a last-minute backroom deal. Looking to the leadership instead of constituents by not going to Town Halls is cowardly.” Walsh says she’ll be out protesting at Reichert’s Issaquah office this afternoon.
“I just think the timing of his decision is suspect,” says Erin Albanese, also with Indivisible WA 8. “Was he waiting for the whips to know they had enough votes already so he would be a safe vote? Was he willing to vote ‘yes’ if they needed him? Those are the kinds of questions I have right now.”
If passed into law, Trumpcare (formally called the American Health Care Act, or AHCA) would eliminate health coverage for tens of millions of Americans and grant large tax breaks to the wealthy. It would also eliminate the tax on people without coverage, which could eventually lead to the collapse of health insurance markets by bleeding healthy, young people from the pool of people paying premiums. Trumpcare still has to go through the Senate.
We’ve got a line out to Rep. Reichert’s office asking for his response to the claim that he waited too long to announce his opposition to Trumpcare, and will update this post if and when we hear back.