The showdown between President Trump and the rebels in the GOP who are holding up a vote on replacing Obamacare has come to a head.
A vote in the House of Representatives on replacing the nation’s healthcare scheme was originally scheduled for earlier this week, but was delayed due to objections from the “freedom caucus” – conservative congressmen unhappy with Trumpcare’s tax incentives to purchase health insurance, among other provisions.
They also object to penalties which the new bill allows insurers to assess if customers elect to drop coverage.
Today, Trump issued an ultimatum to reticent members of the House: either vote on the bill today, or he’s walking away from the table.
That would presumably leave the fallout from rapidly self-destructing Obamacare in the hands of GOP conservatives.
Capitol Hill Blue reported on the tough line now being taken by the Trump administration with the remaining holdouts:
Abandoning negotiations, President Donald Trump demanded a make-or-break vote on health care legislation in the House, threatening to leave “Obamacare” in place and move on to other issues if Friday’s vote fails.
The risky move, part gamble and part threat, was presented to GOP lawmakers behind closed doors Thursday night after a long and intense day that saw a planned vote on the health care bill scrapped as the legislation remained short of votes amid cascading negotiations among conservative lawmakers, moderates and others.
At the end of it the president had had enough and was ready to vote and move on, whatever the result, Trump’s budget director Mick Mulvaney told lawmakers.
“‘Negotiations are over, we’d like to vote tomorrow and let’s get this done for the American people.’ That was it,” Rep. Duncan Hunter of California said as he left the meeting, summarizing Mulvaney’s message to lawmakers.
“Let’s vote,” White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said as he walked out.
Those who have paid attention to how Trump does business, or rather how he says business should be done, will not be surprised in the slightest. The move is classic Donald Trump.
The billionaire businessman and self-proclaimed expert at “The Art of the Deal” (and author of the eponymous book) has publicly maintained that the key to making good deals is the willingness to walk away from the table.
In the bestselling 1987 book, Trump laid out his negotiating philosophy for all to read:
My style of deal-making is quite simple and straightforward…I aim very high, and then I just keep pushing and pushing to get what I’m after. Sometimes I settle for less than I sought, but in most cases I still end up with what I want.
Trump also said many potential deals fall through, so he recommends keeping your options open:
I never get too attached to one deal or one approach… I keep a lot of balls in the air, because most deals fall out, no matter how promising they seem at first. In addition, once I’ve made a deal, I always come up with at least a half dozen approaches to making it work, because anything can happen, even to the best-laid plans.
If Trump follows his own advice, he may be willing to compromise to get the votes to pass a bill, but he’s also prepared to leave the other side holding the bag. As he tweeted in 2011 and has said many times since:
"Know when to walk away from the table." The Art of the Deal
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 27, 2011
We’ll very soon find out if President Trump is able to transfer his business negotiation acumen to political success on capitol hill.