Give this much to U.S. House Republicans. The health care bill they rammed through on a 217-213 vote Thursday might gut funding for Medicare, deprive millions of people of insurance and show abject insensitivity to America’s most vulnerable. But at least they didn’t skimp on the theatrics.
After the vote, the bumptious congressmen hopped a bus for a presumptuous White House Rose Garden victory party, hosted by President Donald Trump. (Memo to the revelers: Trump doesn’t get to sign the bill unless it passes the Senate. Don’t hold your breath.)
Before the vote, they pumped themselves up, Rocky Balboa style, by listening to the 1980s movie rock anthem “Eye of the Tiger.”
“It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight, risin’ up to the challenge of our rival.” And so on.
Rep. Dave Reichert of Auburn, the sole Republican in the Puget Sound’s congressional delegation, didn’t take part in the pompous pageantry. Even better, he voted against the bill. Reichert was one of 20 Republicans (including Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas) who submitted to their conscience rather than the strong-arm tactics of Trump and House leaders.
While no fan of Obamacare, Reichert said he couldn’t turn his back on the sick, poor and elderly: “Unfortunately, the current House bill falls short and does not provide the essential protections I need to support it,” he posted on Facebook Thursday.
It was a bold and principled vote, one that could potentially affect the influence Reichert has built over 12 years in the GOP caucus.
Forget what the song says. Sometimes the thrill comes not in rising up to the challenge of your rival, but of your ally.