House Republicans Beer AHCA
The beer wheeled into the Capitol yesterday following the passing of the AHCA. Photo: Twitter / ajjaffe

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:

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:

 

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.

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.