Essay About Obamacare

“I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone,” he said in 2014, describing his levers of power as his dealings with Congress continued to deteriorate.

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With the exception of a brief and unsuccessful attempt at a fiscal “grand bargain” in 2011, Obama did not seek compromise at a Clintonian scale — the gulf between his progressive agenda and a hard-right House majority was too wide, and seemingly unbridgeable.

When he did seek to push a controversial priority though Congress — notably, seeking to expand firearm background checks — he lost.

When the congressional summer recess came, protests erupted with chants of “kill the bill” in town hall meetings across the country.

“People are signaling that we ought to slow up and find out where we are and don’t spend so much money and don’t get us so far into debt,” Sen. Grassley (R-Iowa), one of three key Senate GOP negotiators, said that August after a pummeling series of home-state meetings. The surprise victory the following January of a Republican, Scott Brown, in the Massachusetts special election to fill the seat of the late Sen. Kennedy cemented the peril for Democrats — and for the president’s agenda.

Instead, Democrats lost the House and later the Senate, and Obama spent the final six years of his presidency mired in a series of high-stakes negotiations focused soley on keeping the federal government open for business and preventing the country from defaulting on its debts.

Other major pieces of his legislative agenda — on climate change, on immigration, on civil rights — stalled or died at different stages, and the administration turned to the exercise of executive power to achieve its goals.But the political consequences extended well beyond any definition of the short term.The Republican vows to “repeal and replace” Obamacare began that very day — one that then-House Minority Leader John A.In a Washington Post op-ed days later, Obama political adviser David Plouffe acknowledged a “white-knuckled ride” ahead for his party’s candidates but warned against “bed-wetting.” “I know that the short-term politics are bad,” he said.“But politically speaking, if we do not pass it, the GOP will continue attacking the plan as if we did anyway, and voters will have no ability to measure its upside.” After a series of unusual legislative maneuvers and a flurry of intraparty deal-making, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed Congress without the support of a single Republican lawmaker, and Obama signed it into law March 23, 2010.In his recent memoir, Senate Republican leader Mitch Mc Connell recalled his advice to his GOP colleagues: “Don’t muddy this up.” “I didn’t want a single Republican to vote for it,” Mc Connell (Ky.) wrote. Ultimately, those talks went nowhere; every GOP senator agreed not to “muddy this up.” Meanwhile, the shoots of a grass-roots uprising began to show.“It had to be very obvious to the voters which party was responsible for this terrible policy, and I wanted a clear line of demarcation — they were for this, and we were against it. What would become the tea party movement had started to coalesce in opposition to the financial recovery bills passed in the earliest months of Obama’s presidency, and the health-care push gave it potent new fuel.(Melina Mara/The Washington Post) Many of the ideas embedded in the law, including the individual mandate to buy insurance, had rattled around conservative think tank circles for decades as potential GOP alternatives to previous, more government-centric Democratic health-care plans.But that history didn’t forestall a furious partisan backlash — one that gave Republicans a crucial rallying point just months after the 2008 electoral rout. So the strategy, simply stated, was to keep everybody together in opposition.” The president craved the idea of a bipartisan bill, and Obama and congressional Democrats labored for months to get at least a few Republicans to buy in, soliciting input and suggestions from a few Republican senators, in particular.Then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) walks to the Capitol with Rep.John Lewis (D-Ga.), second from left, and others on March 21, 2010, ahead of a vote on the health-care law.

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