In March, House Speaker Paul Ryan said he had "dreamed" of cutting Medicaid since he was "drinking out of a keg." (He meant college.)
Yesterday, his dreams became real. Ryan's American Health Care Act narrowly passed the House. It would cut federal outlays for Medicaid, the health program for low-income people, by $880 billion.
And House Republicans apparently celebrated with some cold brews. Several reporters photographed and described stacks of Bud Lite being wheeled into the Capitol around 2 p.m., shortly after the vote began at 1:30.
"Republicans are not being modest in their victory," reported CBS News' congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes on air. "They already have cases of beer standing by here at the Capitol to celebrate."
Vice News' Alexandra Jaffe snapped a photo of the beer being wheeled into the Capitol:
Cases upon cases of beer just rolled into the Capitol on a cart covered in a sheet. Spotted Bud Light peeking out from the sheet— Alexandra Jaffe (@ajjaffe) May 4, 2017
She then chased down the wheeler — who was dressed in shirt and tie with a sharp watch and a peekaboo of snappy socks — and asked him if the beer was going to the GOP caucus, which he denied:
Here are the beers. Asked if they were going to a GOP conference meeting & he said "no, different meeting," no further details pic.twitter.com/ugS8oW4kGj— Alexandra Jaffe (@ajjaffe) May 4, 2017
It's unclear what other fete was being readied at the Capitol at the same time as the AHCA signing, which required the presence of all 435 members of Congress who work in the building. No chilling apparatus was observed, which suggested the beer was to be drunk quickly or warm. About 15 minutes after Jaffe queried the beer attendant, the AHCA hit the magic 216-vote threshold and passed.
Several people pointed out that these optics — of enough beer for a kegger being wheeled into the Capitol during a vote to remove approximately 24 million Americans from their health insurance — were unfortunate.
@ajjaffe Not only is this GOP Congress lacking integrity and morals; they have no taste in beer. Bud Light - really??— Dodie Smith (@DodieSmith1) May 5, 2017
They had time to plan a beer bash but not to read the bill or get a CBO score.— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) May 4, 2017
But who really knows? It could have been a midday going-away celebration for a member of the maintenance staff, on a Thursday, at 2 p.m. Whoever received the beer is advised not to hit it too hard: The Center for American Progress estimates that premiums for someone seeking treatment for addiction will rise by $20,000 under the AHCA. But not for members of Congress: Republicans voted to exempt their health insurance from provisions of the healthcare law.