New GOP health bill lacks the votes to pass
GOP Sens. Jerry Moran (Kan.) and Mike Lee (Utah) announced on Monday night they will not support taking up a bill repealing and replacing ObamaCare, effectively blocking the legislation.
Their decision means Republicans in the Senate are well short of having the support to pass their legislation and raises serious questions about whether President Trump will reach his goal of ending ObamaCare.
“In the coming days, the Senate will vote to take up the House bill with the first amendment in order being what a majority of the Senate has already supported in 2015 and that was vetoed by then-President Obama: a repeal of Obamacare with a two-year delay to provide for a stable transition period,” McConnell said in a statement.
The move means Senate Republicans will try to repeal and replace ObamaCare separately, reverting to a plan Senate GOP leadership initially proposed earlier this year but had to abandon due to lack of support.
“This closed-door process has yielded the [bill], which fails to repeal the Affordable Care Act or address healthcare’s rising costs. For the same reasons I could not support the previous version of this bill, I cannot support this one,” Moran said in a statement.
He added that the Senate “must now start fresh with an open legislative process,” an indication that relatively minor changes to the current bill would not be enough to win his support. It may also indicate he wants hearings on a bill, which were absent from the process on the current measure.
Highlighting the challenges faced by McConnell, Lee argued the measure is not conservative enough, tugging in the opposite direction from moderates.
Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2017
Paul seemed to back Trump’s call in a tweet of his own, saying he and Trump discussed a “clean repeal” last week.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 18, 2017
“Insurance markets continue to collapse, premiums continue to rise, and Obamacare remains a failure. Inaction is not an option,” a White House spokesperson said in a statement.
“We look forward to Congress continuing to work toward a bill the President can sign to end the Obamacare nightmare and restore quality care at affordable prices.”
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) July 18, 2017
No more waiting. Americans sent us here 2 repeal Obamacare. Lets send 2 Trumps desk the same bill we sent 2 Obamas https://t.co/AsNZPggxM9
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) July 18, 2017
“Getting money/power out of Washington & returning it to the states is the antidote to 1-SIZE FITS ALL approach embraced in Obamacare,” he tweeted.
Graham rolled out a proposal with Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) late last week that would shift the majority of federal funding and decision making on ObamaCare directly to the states.
They both said earlier Monday night that they had continued to discuss their proposal over the weekend.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) immediately seized on the announcement as “proof positive that the core of this bill is unworkable,” while Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said he’s “delighted” to see GOP senators fleeing from the chamber’s ObamaCare repeal-and-replace plan.
“I’ve confirmed those [remarks] from senators those comments were made to, so I find those comments very troubling,” the Wisconsin Republican told reporters Monday night.
He added that “last week I was strongly urging colleagues to vote motion to proceed; I’m not doing that right now.”
In a Monday night statement from Arizona, McCain called for a return to regular order as Congress goes back to the drawing board.
“One of the major problems with Obamacare was that it was written on a strict party-line basis and driven through Congress without a single Republican vote. As this law continues to crumble in Arizona and states across the country, we must not repeat the original mistakes that led to Obamacare’s failure,” he said in a statement from Arizona, where he is recovering from surgery to remove a blood clot above his left eye.
“The Congress must now return to regular order, hold hearings, receive input from members of both parties, and heed the recommendations of our nation’s governors so that we can produce a bill that finally provides Americans with access to quality and affordable health care.”