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McConnell Has A 'Slush Fund' To Buy 'Moderate' GOP

Why was Mitch McConnell smiling after the CBO score? He's not done. Not by a long shot.

Go to New York magazine's front page right now and you see this headline:

CBO Score of Senate Health Bill Is Grim

But click on the link and Ed Kilgore tells you precisely how Mitch McConnell might save the bill:

[The bill] nearly triples the deficit reduction estimates for the House bill (from $119 billion to $321 billion), mostly because of a combination of a delay in the repeal of certain Obamacare taxes and reconfigured health-insurance purchasing subsidies....

As a practical matter the higher deficit-reduction number is pleasing to conservatives, but also gives McConnell a slush fund to buy “moderate” votes with more generous spending provisions.

There you go. It's not just that McConnell will now begin making deals -- he built the bill to give him the money to do so. Or maybe he didn't know he'd get this "slush fund" and just lucked out. (But note that the bill's drafters were sending portions of it to the Congressional Budget Office as it was being written, so there probably weren't too many surprises in today's CBO report.) But this money is what McConnell is going to horse-trade with. So even though it appears that three senators -- Rand Paul, Susan Collins, and Dean Heller -- will vote no on a motion to proceed to a vote, there are deals to be made. If you live in a state with a Republican senator or two, keep the pressure on.

Originally published at No More Mr. Nice Blog

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