On Tuesday, when it became clear that Republicans' efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act were failing, President Donald Trump tweeted that 2018 midterm wins are crucial for Republicans, who already control both chambers of Congress. "With only a very small majority, the Republicans in the House & Senate need more victories next year since Dems totally obstruct, no votes!" the president tweeted.
On Monday two more Republican senators announced that they would defect from the Senate GOP camp and vote against the unpopular Senate healthcare bill that was meant to replace the ACA. “Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said after Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas decided they would vote no. McConnell added that the Senate may consider a repeal-only bill moving forward.
Trump's tweet about the 2018 midterms came after a number of posts Tuesday morning related to the collapse of the GOP healthcare bill. The president echoed McConnell's comments suggesting Republicans may try to repeal Obamacare without replacing it. "As I have always said, let ObamaCare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan. Stay tuned!" Trump tweeted.
With only a very small majority, the Republicans in the House & Senate need more victories next year since Dems totally obstruct, no votes!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2017
According to early handicapping of the 2018 midterms, it seems like Democrats have a shot at taking back the House, but little chance of regaining control of the Senate. Harry Enten at FiveThirtyEight has even written that it may be possible for the GOP to gain a filibuster-proof 60 seats in the upper chamber of Congress. Media reports, however, have suggested that top GOP leaders are concerned about their party's midterm prospects, due to the perceived instability of the Republican in the White House.
A Washington Post article reported that House Speaker Paul Ryan and Rep. Steve Stivers, who is chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, told legislators that they were concerned about how much grassroots support the Democratic party has garnered recently, and that the next cycle therefore may be a tough one for Republicans.
“The message from leadership, and I think it’s a very appropriate message, is: We are not going to take anything for granted,” Rep. Steve Womack, a Republican, told the Post. “Even in the districts that lean or tilt heavily Republican, you have to be ready — you can’t just sit around and expect that this is just going to roll your way without some major effort. This will be a year Republicans will need to recognize that getting this majority was hard, and keeping it is hard, and we need to roll up our sleeves and do everything necessary so the day after Election Day, we’re not sitting around playing the what-if game.”