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Denver GOP delivers ultimatum to Congress: Repeal ‘abominable’ Obamacare or elect new leaders

Author: Ernest Luning - September 22, 2017 - Updated: September 22, 2017

McConnell-GOP-Senate.jpg
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, second from left, speaks following a Republican policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. He is joined by, from left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen John Thune, R-S.D., and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, second from left, speaks following a Republican policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. He is joined by, from left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen John Thune, R-S.D., and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The Denver Republican Party is calling on the congressional GOP to get rid of Obamacare by the end of next month or find new leaders who can finish the job.

A resolution adopted by the county party’s executive committee last week charges that federal lawmakers have failed to uphold the GOP platform and failed to keep campaign promises by coming up short in efforts to overturn the “abominable” Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare — causing “great consternation and angst” among Republicans and putting local GOP candidates “in great election peril.”

The resolution — nearly identical to one adopted earlier this month by the Jefferson County GOP — demands the House and Senate elect new leadership if congressional Republicans “continue in their deceit of the voters” and can’t pass legislation by Nov. 1. (The Adams County GOP executive committee passed a similar resolution drafted by chairman Anil Mathai in late July when Senate Republicans couldn’t pass a so-called “skinny repeal” measure.)

It looked unlikely Friday morning that Republicans would be able to meet the deadline in the wake of Arizona Sen. John McCain’s announcement that he would oppose a last-ditch effort that has been gaining steam this week in the Senate.

“I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal,” McCain said in a statement. “I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried.”

While the House approved legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare in May, the Senate has fallen one or two votes short several times this year. What’s more, under an obscure budget rule, the Senate has to pass legislation by Sept. 30 in order to evade a certain filibuster by Democrats, who have been united in their opposition to GOP proposals.

Denver GOP Chairman Jake Viano said Republicans are tired of hearing excuses.

“We need to send a message to Washington to do what they were elected to do, to repeal or repeal and replace,” he told Colorado Politics. “Ideally, we would repeal it. Socialized medicine has no place in our country.”

Viano tipped his hat to the Jeffco Republicans and that county’s chairman, Joe Webb, for inspiring the resolution but maintained it’s more than a strongly worded statement.

“I think the incumbents are in trouble if they can’t repeal Obamacare,” he said. “That’s what they were sent to Washington to do. It wouldn’t surprise me to see primary challengers based on this issue alone.”

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. Since 2009, he has been the senior political reporter and occasional editor for The Colorado Statesman.


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