WASHINGTON, D.C.- Unable to come with enough votes in a limited amount of time, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has decided to move away from the health care repeal- for now.
Republican senators decided during their weekly conference lunch on Tuesday that it as best not to not take a vote on the measure to repeal the ACA. This move comes after the GOP considered a lack of votes, since three senators have explicitly stated they would vote “no” on the measure, while other law makers have expressed doubts about the bill.
“The decision was a joint one between Lindsey and Bill and the other two sponsors and also the leader that if the votes are not there, not to have the vote, but not to give up,” said Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, after leaving the lunch, referring to the latest health care bill’s co-sponsors, Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.
With no Democrats supporting the repeal of Obamacare, Senate Republicans could afford to lose the support of only two of their 52 members and still pass the bill. On Monday evening, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine became the third GOP senator to publicly oppose the measure, delivering a fatal blow to what was already a last-ditch effort. Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and John McCain of Arizona had previously said that they were against the measure.
The Graham-Cassidy legislation was the latest version of a series of efforts to partially repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but none were able to find the 50 votes needed to pass.
The timing is critical for the GOP since the Senate only has until September 30 before reconciliation expires. Under reconciliation, a simple majority of 50 votes is needed to pass legislation instead of the usual 60.
House Republicans, who did pass a version of Obamacare repeal in May, were disappointed with their congressional colleagues.