McConnell: No plan to try again on ObamaCare repeal soon

McConnell: No plan to try again on ObamaCare repeal soon
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers skeptical of progress on spending deal as wall battle looms Impeachment battle looms over must-pass defense bill 'Saturday Night Live' presents Trump impeachment hearings with 'pizzazz' of soap opera MORE (R-Ky.) signaled to reporters on Wednesday that he doesn’t have any plans to move again this year to repeal ObamaCare, even though Republicans might now have a better chance of success after Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) was sworn in.

Senate Republicans view Kyl as someone more likely to vote with GOP leaders on health care reform legislation than was late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainDonald Trump's 2020 election economic gamble 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary MORE (R-Ariz.), the maverick whom Kyl replaced after his death. 

McCain’s vote ultimately axed the 2017 GOP effort to repeal ObamaCare. Moderate Republican Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families Senate confirms controversial circuit court nominee Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families MORE (Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiImpeachment hearings don't move needle with Senate GOP Hillicon Valley: Federal inquiry opened into Google health data deal | Facebook reports millions of post takedowns | Microsoft shakes up privacy debate | Disney plus tops 10M sign-ups in first day Senators press FDA tobacco chief on status of vaping ban MORE (Alaska) also voted no.

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But taking another stab at an ObamaCare repeal before the end of the year would be a herculean task as Senate Republicans would have to first pass a budget to set up a special process allowing such a bill to pass with a simple majority.

“The agenda for the month is already set. We have our plate full through the end of the fiscal year,” McConnell told reporters Wednesday when asked about moving legislation in the next few months to repeal ObamaCare.

McConnell said he is focused on moving appropriations bills to avoid having to vote on a year-end omnibus spending package.

“We’ll have to pass the three appropriations conference reports, pass the Farm bill, confirm a Supreme Court justice and then do some kind of continuing resolution for the roughly 10 percent of the budget left un-appropriated before the end of the year,” he said.

McConnell did not explicitly rule out moving an ObamaCare repeal in the lame duck session after the election but his answer didn’t indicate that he’s giving it serious thought.

Political handicappers give Democrats a good chance of taking back control of the House in the midterms, which would dash any GOP hopes of repealing ObamaCare during the remainder of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump reversed course on flavored e-cigarette ban over fear of job losses: report Trump to award National Medal of Arts to actor Jon Voight Sondland notified Trump officials of investigation push ahead of Ukraine call: report MORE’s first term in office. 

Even if Kyl votes for a repeal, Senate Republicans would still probably not have enough votes.

Since the 2017 health care debate, they have lost control of the Alabama Senate seat, which Democrat Doug Jones won in a stunning upset in a December special election.