NBC: ‘Big Risk’ for GOP After Passing ‘Extreme’ Health Care Bill

After all three network morning shows lead with reports touting Democratic predictions that Republicans would be “punished at the ballot box” over House passage of their health care bill, NBC’s Today turned to political analysts Josh Earnest and Nicolle Wallace to warn against the GOP’s “big risk.”

Turning to Earnest, Barack Obama’s former mouthpiece, Co-host Savannah Guthrie incredulously wondered if Republicans could really “pull off” a repeal and replacement of ObamaCare. Predictably, the Democratic flack dispelled the notion: “I think Senate Republicans are unlikely to take the same kind of political risk that House Republicans did....they face the same kind of agonizing political dilemma of either breaking their oft-repeated promise to repeal ObamaCare or keeping that promise by passing a bill that’s wildly unpopular...”

He went on to scold Republicans in the House for having “stood with President Trump” and for “counting on President Trump to make the case to the American people. Over the objections of the AARP, over the objections of the American Medical Association, over the objections of the American Nurse’s Association, that what they did was the right thing to do.”

Earnest smugly concluded: “That’s a big risk to take when you’re talking about the most unpopular president in American history at this stage of his presidency.”

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Co-host Matt Lauer happily took over where the liberal pundit left off, asking Wallace:

And Nicolle, it’s a big risk for some of those members of the House who are going to face very difficult reelection battles in swing districts coming up in a year and a half or so. You heard Nancy Pelosi say they’re going to end up walking the plank on this and those ads that the Democratic Party is already starting to put together is going to make them glow in the dark. What’s the impact going to be in the races?

Wallace pushed back gently: “Yeah, listen, in fairness, ObamaCare wasn’t that popular either until Republicans started talking about taking it away....once people have something, it’s always going to be an impossible mission to then take it from them....But it would be unfair to the Republicans and unfair to simply sort of presume that ObamaCare was perfect.”

However, after providing that context, she urged Senate Republicans to back away from the supposedly “extreme” legislation passed by the House: “The Senate will probably look at some fixes, some efficiencies, but I don’t think the Senate will produce a bill that’s as extreme as what came out of the House.”

Guthrie observed: “But members of Congress are saying we can go back to our districts and say we did vote to repeal and replace. For them, that may be the whole ball game.” Wallace promptly dismissed ObamaCare repeal as only being “popular among a sliver of movement conservatives” and lectured that “this is about people’s families, people’s lives.”

Wallace was recently given her own MSNBC show, laughably billed as a way for the left-wing network to begin “courting conservatives.”

Here is a full transcript of the May 5 discussion:

7:07 AM ET

MATT LAUER: Let’s bring in NBC News political analyst Nicolle Wallace, and Josh Earnest, who served as President Obama’s White House Press Secretary. Ladies, gentlemen, good to see you both.

NICOLLE WALLACE: Good morning.

JOSH EARNEST: Good morning.

LAUER: Nicolle, let me start with you. Before we go forward, let’s talk about what was accomplished in the House.

WALLACE: Right.

LAUER: In the past, getting Republicans in the House together on a bill like this was like herding cats. They did pass it. Slim margin, but they passed it. How big an accomplishment?

WALLACE: It’s a huge deal, and it’s Paul Ryan’s first legislative win on behalf of this President. And I think Paul Ryan knew exactly how to be Paul Ryan had Hillary Clinton won. I think he’s grappled with how to be Paul Ryan, the conservative thinker, in the time of Trump. Trump last night in an event voiced admiration for Australia’s health care system. Australia’s health care system is more similar to an ObamaCare single-payer system than it is to the Republican bill. So he’s – Paul Ryan has a legislative win, he brought his coalition together. But I think the President remains a wild card in all this.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Josh, you were in the Obama White House when they passed health care, you know something about how difficult this is. So do you think the Republicans are going to able to pull it off? Where they can craft a bill in the Senate that can then get it through the House as well? Where ultimately the law is changed?

JOSH EARNEST: Well, Savannah, I think Senate Republicans are unlikely to take the same kind of political risk that House Republicans did. Because look, they face the same kind of agonizing political dilemma of either breaking their oft-repeated promise to repeal ObamaCare or keeping that promise by passing a bill that’s wildly unpopular that would raise costs on seniors, on working people, and on people with preexisting conditions.

So the calculation that House Republicans have made is pretty obvious. No sooner had they cast the vote in favor of this bill than they walked off the floor of the House of Representatives, got on the bus, and took that bus down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House, where they stood with President Trump. It’s clear that they’re counting on President Trump to make the case to the American people. Over the objections of the AARP, over the objections of the American Medical Association, over the objections of the American Nurse’s Association, that what they did was the right thing to do. That’s a big risk to take when you’re talking about the most unpopular president in American history at this stage of his presidency.

LAUER: And Nicolle, it’s a big risk for some of those members of the House who are going to face very difficult reelection battles in swing districts coming up in a year and a half or so. You heard Nancy Pelosi say they’re going to end up walking the plank on this and those ads that the Democratic Party is already starting to put together is going to make them glow in the dark. What’s the impact going to be in the races?

WALLACE: Yeah, listen, in fairness, ObamaCare wasn’t that popular either until Republicans started talking about taking it away. And even longtime Republicans, I talked to a former Reagan aide yesterday who said once people have something, it’s always going to be an impossible mission to then take it from them, particularly when it’s their health care. So I know we talk about the politics of this. This involves people’s lives and it’s why there are so many passions.

But it would be unfair to the Republicans and unfair to simply sort of presume that ObamaCare was perfect. In private, even Democrats, even the President of the United States was talking to this new administration about how to fix and improve ObamaCare should there be a transition. I think the greatest opportunity for this White House is to make these fixes. And I think this is what’s gonna happen in the Senate. I think Josh would probably even agree. The Senate will probably look at some fixes, some efficiencies, but I don’t think the Senate will produce a bill that’s as extreme as what came out of the House.

GUTHRIE: But members of Congress are saying we can go back to our districts and say we did vote to repeal and replace. For them, that may be the whole ball game.  

WALLACE: And that’s popular among a sliver of movement conservatives, but this is about people’s families, people’s lives.

GUTHRIE: Josh and Nicolle, thank you very much. Good to talk to you guys.

NB Daily Congress Health Care Medical Insurance Conservatives & Republicans NBC Today ObamaCare American Health Care Act Video Matt Lauer Savannah Guthrie Nicolle Wallace Josh Earnest

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