NEW YORK >> Weary Republicans in Washington may be ready to move on from health care, but conservatives across the United States are warning the GOP-led Congress not to abandon its pledge to repeal the Obama-era health law — or risk a political nightmare in next year’s elections.
The Senate’s failure this past week to pass repeal legislation has outraged the Republican base and triggered a new wave of fear. The stunning collapse has exposed a party so paralyzed by ideological division that it could not deliver on its top campaign pledge.
After devoting months to the debate and seven years to promising to kill the Affordable Care Act, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., simply said: “It’s time to move on.”
But that’s simply not an option for a conservative base energized by its opposition to the health law. Local party leaders, activists and political operatives are predicting payback for Republicans lawmakers if they don’t revive the fight.
“This is an epic fail for Republicans,” said Tim Phillips, president of Americans For Prosperity, the political arm of the conservative Koch Brothers’ network. “Their failure to keep their promise will hurt them. It will.”
To the American Conservative Union, the three Republican senators who blocked the stripped-down repeal bill that failed in the wee hours Friday are “sellouts.” A Trump-sanctioned super political action committee did not rule out running ads against uncooperative Republicans, which it did recently against Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.
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