Rep. Poliquin shows Super Bowl clips, urges GOP to regroup on health care repeal

Rep. Poliquin shows Super Bowl clips, urges GOP to regroup on health care repeal

Following the narrow failure of the health care repeal vote in the U.S. Senate last week, some members of Congress, including Maine Senator Susan Collins, have argued that Republicans will now have to work across the aisle to improve the Affordable Care Act. Others, including Finance Committee Chairman Orin Hatch, have said they should simply move on to other issues. But not all Republicans are willing to give up on the dream of repealing Obamacare.

According to the Washington Post and other media outlets who spoke to lawmakers present at a closed-door meeting of the U.S. House Republicans last Friday, the approach favored by a majority was “never say die.”

“It’s only a defeat if we surrender,” Rep. Barry Loudermilk of Georgia is quoted as saying. “The history books of America are marked by us rebounding from defeat and turning it into victory. We’re going to keep pushing.”

This sentiment was punctuated by an audio-visual presentation by Maine Second-District Rep. Bruce Poliquin. He showed clips from this year’s Super Bowl, where the New England Patriots staged an unprecedented comeback, apparently to argue that Republicans shouldn’t give up just yet.

(I realize Poliquin thinks he’s one of the Patriots here, but the analogy might work better with the GOP as the Atlanta Falcons, given that they control the entire federal government and yet still managed to lose on their signature issue. Plus, Poliquin is the only member of Congress from anywhere in New England to have voted for repeal.)

The attitude of House Republicans echoes the message from the White House, with President Donald Trump calling for more votes in the Senate and castigating Republicans who don’t continue to fight for repeal as “total quitters.”

Poliquin’s pep rally performance betrays far more enthusiasm for the health care repeal legislation than the congressweasel has shown his constituents in Maine. He continues to duck questions about his vote for the Republican plan, which would be devastating to Mainers, especially the elderly and those living in rural areas.

It’s also a good reminder that as long as Republicans maintain control of Congress, the issue of health care is far from settled. As political analyst Nate Silver recently put it:

If the House does change hands, Poliquin may be part of that equation. He’s up for re-election next year in a competitive seat and several Democrats have already announced campaigns or indicated an interest in running. His health care repeal vote and his continued advocacy for the policy (at least behind closed doors) may just be enough of an albatross around his neck to cancel out his personal wealth and a campaign chest flush with contributions from Wall Street.

As a wise man once said, “Hey, this could get interesting.”

Photo via Flickr/OSC Admin.

About author

Mike Tipping
Mike Tipping 2 posts

Mike is communications director for the Maine People's Alliance. He lives in Orono and has written about Maine politics since 2005.

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