News

Jefferson County GOP calls for Congress to repeal Obamacare immediately or replace leadership

Author: Ernest Luning - September 12, 2017 - Updated: September 22, 2017

Ryan-McConnel.jpg
In this Feb. 27, 2017, file photo, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, accompanied by House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, speaks to reporters outside the White House in Washington, following their meeting with President Donald Trump inside. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)In this Feb. 27, 2017, file photo, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, accompanied by House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, speaks to reporters outside the White House in Washington, following their meeting with President Donald Trump inside. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The Jefferson County Republican Party is demanding Congress immediately repeal the Affordable Care Act or, if it can’t, to elect new congressional leadership.

A strongly worded resolution adopted unanimously by the county party’s executive committee Monday night maintains that the failure of congressional Republicans to overturn the sweeping health care legislation known as Obamacare “has caused great consternation and angst among registered Republicans in Jefferson County” and put GOP candidates “in great election peril.”

The county party is giving Congress until Nov. 1 to “repeal the abominable legislation,” but if Republicans “fail to meet our demand … and continue in their deceit of the voters,” the Jefferson County GOP want different Republicans in charge of the House and Senate.

GOP efforts to repeal Obamacare fell one vote short in the Senate at the end of July when Arizona Sen. John McCain joined fellow Republican senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska voting against a so-called slimmed-down repeal measure. The Republican-controlled House approved legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act in May, but the hurdle is higher in the Senate, where Republicans hold a 52-48 majority.

“People are blaming three senators,” Joe Webb, the Jefferson County Republican chairman since February, told Colorado Politics. “But the failure of the three senators is a failure of leadership, and we’re saying if leadership can’t get it done, get new leadership.”

That means ousting House Speaker Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, among others, he said.

“[I]t is imperative that we differentiate ourselves from the National GOP,” the county party wrote on Facebook Tuesday. “Otherwise, our local and state candidates will be painted with the same brush as the GOP in Washington. Those in Washington are not doing what they promised, and we intend to hold their feet to the fire.”

Jefferson County is Colorado’s fourth-most populous county and is often listed among the country’s bellwether counties, although it’s voted for Democrats at the top of the ticket in the last five cycles — Barack Obama and U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet twice and Hillary Clinton and former U.S. Sen. Mark Udall once. The county has an almost equal number of registered Democrats and Republicans, but unaffiliated voters have a plurality.

Webb said he proposed the resolution because he’s been concerned the national GOP’s inability to uphold the party platform and keep its promises is making it harder for local Republicans in next year’s election.

“Quite frankly, this is a message to the leadership in Washington saying, ‘Hey guys, we gotta win here in Colorado too. Let’s get our act together and do what you have to do,'” Webb said in an interview. “My concern is to get our candidates over the finish line. Our candidates can point to independent voters or weak Republicans and say, ‘Hey, this is what your county party in Jefferson County stands for.’ The Republican Party in Jeffco actually listens to voters and hears them — but, within our limited power, we can only do so much, so we passed this resolution.”

Senate Republicans could consider legislation dubbed a last-ditch effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act this week. Under the chamber’s rules, it’ll have to pass by Sept. 30 or be faced with a higher, 60-vote threshold to get past a certain Democratic filibuster.

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.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *