Republicans prepared a huge celebration before voting to take away health care from millions

Beer, Braveheart, obscenities, scooters, White House parties, and punching into the end zone.

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. draws smiles from his GOP colleagues when a reporter asked about Donald Trump’s vice-presidential choices, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 12, 2016. CREDIT AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. draws smiles from his GOP colleagues when a reporter asked about Donald Trump’s vice-presidential choices, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 12, 2016. CREDIT AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

In the hours leading up to the House vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA), Republicans prepared for victory in their push to repeal and replace Obamacare.

At a “pep rally” meeting prior to the vote, members heard the “Rocky” theme song as they arrived, and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) “put an image of George S. Patton on the screen and read inspirational quotes from the general,” according to The Hill. Members also heard “Taking Care of Business,” according to the AP, before a prayer and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ), whose district voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, stood up in this meeting and exhorted her colleagues to get this “fucking thing” done.

Some members, asked whether they had read the bill they were so eager to support, declined to answer.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) flew back early from his recovery time following an intensive foot surgery, and, scooting on a mobile foot support device, arrived on the House floor with a smile on his face to cast his support the bill.

Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), said in an interview that “the line of the day was out of Braveheart: ‘FREEDOM!’” She held up her arms in a victory stance.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said two months ago that he had been dreaming about sending Medicaid back to the states and capping its growth rate “since you and I were drinking out of a keg,” in a conversation with the National Review’s Rich Lowry.

It’s possible that Ryan had beer available after the vote to celebrate — the bill would end the Medicaid expansion in Obamacare even more quickly that Ryan’s original bill — because Vice reporter Alexandra Jaffe spotted many cases of beer arriving at the Capitol prior to the vote.

The the celebratory libations may have been intended for another party, and the aide pushing the cart said the beer was headed elsewhere.

Even former Rep. Michele Bachmann, famous for her extreme rhetoric on Obamacare, was spotted on the House floor before the vote. While in Congress, Bachmann said Obamacare would “literally” kill people and that it would “endanger the national security of our nation.”

The reason? To join her finger with Rep. Steve King (R-IA) when he cast his vote for the bill.

Donald Trump tweeted before the vote that he would be hosting Republicans for a press conference “if victorious.”

He did not address whether any senators would be on the invitation list. The Senate will still have to pass the bill before it heads to the White House for Trump to sign it, as it is also a chamber in the bicameral United States Congress.

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus was at the Capitol for the vote, and made sure to give his boss some credit, making an oddly-worded sports metaphor. First Priebus was quoted by Hill reporter Molly Hooper as saying Trump helped punt the ball into the end zone, which is a bad thing in American football.

Later, Hooper provided the correct quote, using “punch” instead of “punt.” Punching the ball into the end zone in American football is also a bad thing.

The House Democrats had a moment of their own on the floor right after the vote, chanting the words to that 60’s billboard single “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” referencing something the GOP did in 1993 that presaged the 1994 midterms wherein the Democrats lost their House majority.

As the GOP filed out of the Capitol building toward buses that were to ferry them to the White House, protesters outside chanted, “Shame, Shame,” and “2018, 2018.”

This post has been updated to reflect that White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said the president helped “punch,” not “punt” the ball into the endzone.