They’ve heard angry voters, outraged commentators, and even an unprecedented lawsuit attempt. But now, in response to Republican leadership’s stunning failure to pass anything resembling a repeal of Obamacare despite controlling both Congress and the presidency, the GOP is also hearing conservatives’ disgust in what may be the only language they still understand: money.
The Washington Free Beacon reports that Republican donors are withholding donations to the National Republican Senatorial Committee in protest of the debacle, to the tune of at least $2 million the NRSC had already been assured were coming.
The move is further stressing out GOP leaders who were already sweating over the prospect of conservative voters being disillusioned and staying home in the 2018 midterms. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the man most responsible for the party’s current predicament by far, is reportedly so concerned that he’s warning people in private that the Senate can’t even count on keeping its majority.
Texas-based donor Doug Deason informed congressional Republicans in June that the “Dallas piggy bank” is closed until they take major action on health care and taxes, the Associated Press reported.
Deason refused to host a fundraiser for Rep. Mark Meadows (R, N.C.) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R, Ohio). He further informed House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R, Calif.) his checkbook was closed.
“Get Obamacare repealed and replaced, get tax reform passed,” Deason said. “You control the Senate. You control the House. You have the presidency. There’s no reason you can’t get this done. Get it done and we’ll open it [the ‘bank’] back up.”
Deason noted he has also encouraged “nearly two dozen major Texas donors to follow his lead,” according to the AP.
The NRSC would be the obvious target. Neither the House of Representatives nor the White House’s leadership on the issue has been great, but Paul Ryan would have been happy to send the Senate a decent bill and Donald Trump would have been happy to sign basically anything that reached his desk. The root cause of this mess was McConnell’s insistence on crafting the replacement to appease the Senate’s needless filibuster and reconciliation rules, with the secondary problem being enough liberal Republican senators to torpedo a clean repeal.
Even so, despite the failure demoralizing so much of the base, the GOP still hasn’t taken any action to change its ways. Hopefully turning off the cash flow will send a message that gets through, and that donors refuse to turn it back on until the party gives McConnell the boot and finds new blood for not just the Senate, but for the RNC and NRSC, that know how to enforce the commitments that turncoat senators agreed to by becoming Republicans.