Several weeks ago, it appeared as though any chance of repealing Obamacare and replacing it with somebody better was dead.
Today, the House passed the repeal and replace bill with 217 Republicans voting for it, 20 Republicans voting against and all Democrats voting against it.
So what happens now?
The hard part is next. The Senate is going to take up the legislation, but it will likely take on a different form. The Senate is going to try and move this bill through the chamber via reconciliation so that it will not require the clearance of a 60 vote threshold to do it. With that, comes a set of challenges that include unlimited amendments (Democrats will go to the well with that one) and trying to bring along moderate Republicans who are already wavering.
To get to 51 votes is going to require a lot of work from Mitch McConnell. Voters are watching, and Republicans made promise after promise to do this. It is not a full repeal of Obamacare, but it is a good start.
Once the Senate passes their bill, a conference committee will get together to iron out a compromise that will likely remove some House elements and some Senate elements to craft a new bill. That compromise will then go back to each chamber, be voted on again and, assuming passage, the final bill goes to Donald Trump for his signature.
The process sounds easy, but it is fraught with danger. Whatever bill that comes out of the conference committee will need House Freedom Caucus support and moderate support again in the Senate. Who knows what will happen when the final bill is drafted?
Time will tell. For now, the Republicans have a small window of time to celebrate. The hard part comes next.