Sen. Lamar Alexander is nothing like Trump. But he explains Trump’s Washington.

Sen. Lamar Alexander is nothing like Trump. But he explains Trump’s Washington.

This should have been Sen. Lamar Alexander’s moment.

The Tennessee Republican was the right person in the right place at the right time. Obamacare repeal was dead. But the more practical Republicans, none more so than Alexander, knew they needed to do something to help the law. Otherwise, they would reap the whirlwind.

On the same July night when John McCain killed repeal with a thumbs down, the health committee chair approached Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) on the Senate floor and asked her if she would work with him on a narrowly focused plan to stabilize the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplaces.

“For eight years and four elections, all we were doing was screaming at each in inchoate rage. To have this first small shoot of green grass in the nuclear fallout area is pretty remarkable,” an aide to Alexander told me a few months ago. “His view is, ‘I’m here, I’m going to make a difference.’”

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) speaks with reporters on a Senate subway car on September 14, 2017.

Alexander and Murray did, for a brief moment, agree to what would have been the first significant bipartisan compromise to shore up the divisive health care law.

But Washington, particularly in the Donald Trump era, doesn’t seem to reward the kind of pragmatism that Lamar Alexander and others in the old guard specialize in.

Trump officials (if not the president himself) worked clandestinely to undermine any plan that would help a law that the administration was working elsewhere to unravel. Republican leaders would waver. Democrats saw the shifting reality on the ground and found the anti-abortion demands made by House Republicans …read more

Source:: Vox – All

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