The administration of US President Donald Trump suffered public infighting in its top team and yet another dramatic legislative failure this morning as it lost a crucial healthcare vote.
In a late-night vote in Washington three Republican senators, including former Presidential candidate John McCain, voted against the so-called skinny bill repealing the Affordable Care Act brought forward by their party’s leaders.
The bill would have removed some parts of the act, popularly known as Obamacare, without introducing a replacement. Repealing Obamacare was a Republican party touchstone before last November’s Presidential election.
After the defeat, the third time the White House has failed to bring in healthcare legislation, Trump on Twitter said that he would “let Obamacare implode” on his watch before striking a “deal”.
3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 28, 2017
The President had earlier today seemed in more optimistic mood, telling Republicans to “Get there after waiting for seven years”.
In a statement McCain, who rebelled along with fellow moderate senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, said the Republican bill “offered no replacement to actually reform our healthcare system and deliver affordable, quality healthcare to our citizens.”
The effort to pass healthcare legislation has become a symbol of the President’s failure to live up to his campaign rhetoric so far in passing major legislation.
The first effort: Donald Trump suffers major defeat as healthcare bill fails
The second effort: Trump has failed to pass healthcare reform for a second time
While healthcare legislation is largely insignificant in medium-term macroeconomic terms, Trump’s inability to gain a consensus in the Senate has called into question the prospects for the ambitious spending and tax cut proposals.
Mike Jakeman, US analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit said: “The failure of the Republican healthcare reforms has brutally exposed the ideological divisions between the Republican Party."
He added: "The party has taken a giant step to the right in the past decade or so, which means there is a big difference in how libertarians, such as Rand Paul and Mike Lee, and moderates, such as Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, understand the responsibilities of government. For as long as the party contains such a broad swathe of views (and is led so weakly by the President) it will struggle to pass big legislation.”
The first attempt in March had already prompted investors to question whether his de facto stimulus plans were viable, causing the start of a major reversal in the rise of the dollar. The greenback is now trading at its lowest trade-weighted level since the Brexit vote last June.
Meanwhile a foul-mouthed feud between the White House’s director of communications Anthony Scaramucci and chief of staff Reince Priebus spilled out into the open, casting further doubt on the administration’s ability to bring colleagues onto its side.
The recently appointed Scaramucci said Priebus would be fired if he was found to have leaked information and that he is a “fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac”, according to an extraordinary report in the New Yorker.
Scaramucci’s ire then turned on Trump’s key strategist, Steve Bannon, who is widely credited for the President’s shoot-from-the-hip style and authoritarian tendencies during the election campaign.
According to the New Yorker, Scaramucci said: “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock”.
He added: “I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the President. I’m here to serve the country.”