Senate's ObamaCare Repeal Showdown Could Come Fast

Vote could happen as soon as next week, but McConnell can only lose 2 votes
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2017 6:03 AM CDT
Senate GOP May Risk Quick Vote on ObamaCare
Senate Republicans shouldn't expect "business as usual" if they refuse to openly debate the bill, says Sen. Chuck Schumer.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is aiming to hold a vote on the Senate's version of ObamaCare repeal-and-replace legislation next week—despite the fact that many GOP senators haven't seen it yet, let alone said they will support it. Insiders tell the Wall Street Journal that although McConnell can only afford to lose two Republican votes, he wants to wrap it up before the July 4 recess so the chamber can move on, and he is gambling that the pressure will make it easier for the GOP to reach a consensus. The Journal notes that if the bill fails to pass before the recess, lawmakers returning home could face "pressure from constituents." The bill is being crafted behind closed doors and sources tell Politico that the text should be ready this week, giving lawmakers around a week to review it before the vote. In contrast, the chamber debated the ObamaCare bill for a month in 2009.

The Hill reports that McConnell has focused on winning over moderate Republicans, though conservatives in the House say the bill will die there unless the Senate keeps provisions including the phasing out of ObamaCare's extra Medicaid funding by 2020. "It's close," says GOP Sen. Richard Burr. "Everybody's been counting [votes] since the beginning. It's been close since the beginning." Democrats have slammed the GOP for failing to hold hearings, and plan to "embarrass the heck out of Republicans, who are as much in the dark as we are about their own leadership's plans on the bill," says Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer warned Monday that Democrats will delay Senate business unless the GOP allows open debate on the legislation. (More American Health Care Act stories.)

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