Senate Republicans reluctant to rush vote on healthcare bill

Senate Republicans on Sunday indicated resistance to rushing a vote on the GOP proposal to repeal and replace ObamaCare before the July 4 recess.

Lawmakers said they need more time to analyze and amend the bill. Senate Republicans just released a draft last Thursday, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been pushing the upper chamber to vote on the legislation next week.

But the Senate’s healthcare legislation currently does not have enough support to pass, according to The Hill’s Whip List. McConnell has little margin for error, as he can afford just two defections from his conference with all Democrats expected to oppose the bill. Vice President Pence could then be called in to break the tie.


Among those flatly opposed to the current bill are Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.). 

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) — who identified his opinion as “not a yes yet” on the Senate healthcare bill — on Sunday said the Senate should not be voting on healthcare this coming week.

“We don’t have enough information. I don’t have the feedback from constituencies who will not have had enough time to review the Senate bill,” he said on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”

“We should not be voting on this next week,” he insisted.

He said he would like to delay the healthcare vote. He added he’s been encouraging leadership and the White House not to “rush” this process.

“Let’s have the integrity to show the American people what it is, show them the truth,” he said.

His comments were echoed by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).

“It’s hard for me to see the bill passing this week,” Collins said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“But that’s up to the majority leader. We could well be in all night a couple of nights working through what will be an open amendment process, and I think that at least is good,” she continued.

Collins said she is waiting to make a final decision on whether she supports or opposes the bill until she sees the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis.
But, she noted, she has “very serious concerns about the bill.” Collins also criticized the process — or lack of process — the bill has gone through thus far.
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) also agreed there is undue pressure to pass the bill quickly.
“I don’t know quite why the rush,” Cassidy told CBS’s “Face the Nation” when asked about a vote before July 4.
“I frankly would like more days to consider this — that will probably be a discussion coming back. I think a few more days to consider would be helpful,” he said.

Cassidy also said he still undecided about how he will vote on the measure.

“Right now, I am undecided,” Cassidy said.

The Louisiana lawmaker said he could not back the bill unless his concerns about it are addressed.
“But if those can be addressed, I will,” he said.
As of Sunday, a number of senators remained unsure about whether or not they would vote for the measure and some expressed confidence more could be done to improve the legislation. President Trump, who has been pushing reluctant senators hard through phone calls and tweets this weekend, has also indicated he’s open to negotiating the bill.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) — who said he is a no on the bill “at this point” because the legislation doesn’t go far enough to repeal ObamaCare — said he would consider voting for a partial repeal of ObamaCare.
“I’ve been telling leadership for months now that I will vote for a repeal, and it doesn’t have to be a 100 percent repeal,” Paul said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“For example, I’m for 100 percent repeal, that’s what I want, but if you offer me a 90 percent repeal, I’d probably vote for it. I might vote for 80 percent repeal,” he said.

ObamaCare subsidies in the Senate bill are “actually greater under the Republican bill than they are under the current ObamaCare law,” he added. “That is not anywhere close to repeal.” 
Paul said if the Senate moves toward a bill that is “more repeal and less big government programs,” he could change his vote.

“Yes, I’ll consider partial repeal,” he said.

Democrats on Sunday also came out against the Senate’s healthcare bill. But Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) appeared unsure on whether or not the measure would pass, saying it could really go either way despite strong opposition from Democrats.
“I think it’s 50/50,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”
Democrats are doing everything they can, he said, to “fight this bill.”
“It’s so devastating for the middle class,” he said.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) also said there is a lot of room to make the plan better.

“There’s an awful lot that can be done to improve it,” Manchin told CBS’s “Face the Nation.” 

He suggested that if McConnell doesn’t have the votes to pass the bill, he should scrap it and let bipartisan working groups develop a new plan.
The Senate’s bill is “even worse” than the legislation passed earlier this year by the House, he added.
The Senate’s bill includes deep cuts to Medicaid and fundamentally reshapes that program from an open-ended government commitment to a system of capped federal payments that limit federal spending. The White House says this change is giving more control back to the states.
It also defunds Planned Parenthood for one year and ends the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate requiring Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty. 

Before its release, some spoke out against the way the plan was created, after GOP senators were accused of drafting the legislation in secrecy behind closed doors. 

Trump, who called the House Republicans’ healthcare legislation “mean,” last week expressed hope the Senate would pass a healthcare plan “with heart.”
Asked if he thinks the Senate bill has enough heart, Trump said it needs “a little negotiation, but it’s going to be very good.”
“We will hopefully get something done, and it will be something with heart and very meaningful,” he continued.
The White House has not pushed for a specific date to pass the bill, but White House press secretary Sean Spicer said on Friday that “hopefully by the August recess [we will] really have ObamaCare repealed and replaced.”
The legislation is high on Trump’s agenda. In a tweet Saturday, Trump pressured Republican senators on letting ObamaCare — which he calls “dead” — remain in place any longer.
“I cannot imagine that these very fine Republican Senators would allow the American people to suffer a broken ObamaCare any longer!” he tweeted.
White House aide Kellyanne Conway on Sunday expressed confidence the GOP healthcare bill would pass the Senate.
“We also heard the House bill was never going to pass,” she said on ABC. “We’re very confident that the Senate bill will get through.”
Tags Charles Schumer Dean Heller Joe Manchin Mike Lee Mitch McConnell Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act replacement proposals Rand Paul Ron Johnson Susan Collins Ted Cruz
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