Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had to acknowledge a major setback two times in just two days. However, after a luncheon with the President he stated:
“For the information of all Senators, at the request of the President and Vice President and after consulting with our members, we will have the vote on the Motion to Proceed to the Obamacare repeal bill early next week,” the Kentucky Republican announced from the Senate floor.
After first acknowledging that the GOP did not have sufficient votes to both repeal and replace Obamacare with a new health care bill, McConnell suggested that they would just repeal and replace later.
But that plan was, for all practical purposes, killed when McConnell once again had to report that things were not going as they had hoped. The second crisis in a span of 24 hours. Three senators, Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Susan Collins of Maine, said they oppose McConnell’s proposal for repeal only.
Despite not having the votes for passage, McConnell announced Tuesday night from the Senate floor that Republicans would hold a procedural vote on the health care bill “early next week.” It seems that they want on record those senators that will oppose the repeal only process.
“My position on this issue is driven by its impact on West Virginians,” Capito said in a statement. “With that in mind, I cannot vote to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan that addresses my concerns and the needs of West Virginians.” Capito later tweeted that she would not vote to more forward on a motion to proceed which would repeal Obamacare without a replacement. Murkowski, the senator from Alaska, challenged Republicans to develop a new proposal in committees. “I think what has to happen is the Republicans have to admit that some of the things in the ACA, we actually liked, and the Democrats have to admit that some of the things they voted for in the ACA are broken and need to be fixed,” Murkowski told reporters.
The word coming from the White House is “Let Obamacare fail.” President Trump told reporters that he was “very disappointed” by the GOP inability to pass health care. He then added that his new plan is to “let Obamacare fail and then the Democrats are going to come to us.” He still maintains some hope and said that he doesn’t think the Republican plan “is dead,” but it “may not be as quick as we had hoped but it is going to happen.”
But other leaders on Capitol Hill quickly tried to move away from the shadow that healthcare is casting on Republicans. Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said that it might be time for his party to move on from repealing and replacing Obamacare “pretty quickly.” “I think we need to move on probably pretty quickly,” Johnson said. “I mean, we’ve been at this. It did not, unfortunately, end in success.”
Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan) is bewildered by his colleagues and the latest setback, “It was not the best possible bill, but it was the best bill possible,” he said. “When you can’t even get to a motion to proceed, you’re in pretty bad shape.” When he was asked what this says about the Republican Party’s ability to govern, he simply replied, “Not much.”
What do you think about the most recent developments in the healthcare debacle?