The (in)famous US Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, has been heavily criticized by the Republican party and its leader Donald Trump. However, it seems that they are still not ready to take it down for good.
Republicans plan to re-write their health bill over the July 4th recess and get a new analysis from the Congressional Budget Office before bringing legislation to the floor, according to senators and aides. GOP senators said their goal is to have an agreement by Friday and vote as soon as they come back from the break.
“Legislation of this complexity almost always takes longer than anyone would hope,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters. “But we’re pressing on.” He also said he opted to delay a planned vote on the Senate bill after several members asked for more time to review the sweeping legislation and determine their stance on the matter.
The Kentucky Republican added that President Donald Trump will play a larger role in the discussions, calling his involvement “very important to securing the final commitments needed to push the bill through the Senate. Republican senators will head to the White House this afternoon to meet with Trump.
Some Republicans commended McConnell for the delay.
“Sen. McConnell was wise to give it a few more days,” said GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander, who chairs a key health committee. “Several members felt the bill wasn’t ready to be voted on. We’ve been working on it for seven years and a few more days to get it right is a very sensible approach to me.”
Earlier in the day, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the GOP’s chief whip counter, had said that the vote would be held “sometime tomorrow.”
But at least five Senate Republicans — moderate Sens. Susan Collins and Dean Heller and conservative Sens. Ron Johnson, Rand Paul and Mike Lee — had said they were not willing to vote on the Obamacare repeal bill without alterations. McConnell can only afford to lose two senators.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), one of the swing votes on the bill, said not voting on the procedural motion Tuesday “is good, because I don’t think we’re ready to proceed today. This person is not ready to proceed today.”
Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio also stated that he would not support the vote to advance the bill, and that he had “serious concerns about the Medicaid issues.”
Both McConnell and Vice President Mike Pence met with reluctant Republicans Tuesday as the GOP hunted for the votes together to fulfill their seven-year pledge to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.