WASHINGTON, D.C.—Wednesday night began cute, with folks talking about “Vote-a-Rama” with the Senate sitting in session well into Thursday morning, and rookie Republican Senator Todd Young sending snack food to the press gallery. It gradually became less cute as the night became the morning. The Democratic minority kept offering amendment after amendment, all of which failed by the narrow margin by which the Republicans control the Senate.
Then, around one o’clock in the morning, the actual mugging occurred, and millions of Americans awoke to the news that their newly acquired healthcare—and the newly acquired peace of mind that came with it—was going up in smoke.
The key moment came at about one in the morning when Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, withdrew his amendment that would have pushed the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act back to the beginning of March. Defenders of the law had set great store by the Corker amendment, which seemed to indicate that the Republican majority was both a) afraid to stand the gaff that will come when people lose their healthcare, and b) realizing that repealing the ACA without a viable replacement would cause actual chaos. That unicorn died in the dead of night.
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