Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) on Sunday urged House Republicans not to vote for House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) Obamacare repeal bill, warning them that a vote in favor of the legislation could haunt them in the 2018 midterm elections.
“I’m afraid that if they vote for this bill, they’re going to put the House majority at risk next year,” he said during an interview with ABC’s “This Week.”
The Arkansas senator recalled how Democrats lost unified control of government in 1994 after House Democrats voted in favor of President Bill Clinton’s proposed BTU tax. The unpopular tax on energy did not end up getting a vote in the Senate, but House Democrats got stuck with it hung around their necks in the midterms anyway.
The lesson, Cotton said, is to avoid casting a politically suicidal vote on legislation that the Senate or the president may abandon in the future.
“So, I would say to my friends in the House of Representatives with whom I serve, do not walk the plank and vote for a bill that cannot pass the Senate and then have to face the consequences of that vote,” Cotton said.
Several Republican senators have publicly criticized the House GOP bill, putting the legislation as currently written in severe jeopardy. Furthermore, a group of influential conservatives in the House is pushing to amend the bill further by phasing out the Obamacare Medicaid expansion by 2018 ― a big problem for senators who represent states that expanded the program.