Some GOP senators return from break admitting Obamacare repeal bill is ‘probably dead’
While many in their party are vowing to fight until the bitter end for the Senate’s bill to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, others are returning from the Fourth of July break admitting that the bill is looking dead on arrival.
“My view is it’s probably going to be dead,” said Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, according to Politico. “I fear that it’s going to fail.”
With just a few weeks left in the legislative session, Republicans are facing an uphill battle to overcome internecine divides within their own party and ratify the bill into law.
“Over the July 4 recess, conservative demands hardened and surprising opposition to the SenateGOP’s first stab revealed itself in red states like North Dakota and Kansas. Republicans sniped over the merits of deregulating the health insurance industry and GOP senators began floating exit strategies in case they can’t agree on legislation, ranging from working with Democrats to amend Obamacare to simply repealing the law and figuring out how to replace it later,” wrote Politico’s Burgess Everett.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) ordered his staff to work through the break trying to come up with a compromise that can net 50 of the Senate’s 52 Republicans. However, little progress has been made in negotiations.
“At best, the repeal effort stayed stuck in neutral over the past nine days, several Republicans familiar with the ongoing negotiations said. At worst, the bill McConnell unveiled before the recess has little chance of being saved,” Everett said.
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus refused to admit that there might be a chance the bill could die in the Senate, saying on “Fox News Sunday” that Trump “expects them to get this done. The president expects the Senate to fulfill the promises it made to the American people.”
Many Republicans are concentrating on what will happen when McConnell fails. McConnell has admitted that if the new bill doesn’t go through, then Republicans will have to work with Democrats to shore up the problems with the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Conservatives want the Senate to vote to repeal the ACA whether or not a replacement plan is in place. Moderates in the party, however, say this would be political suicide.
“Non-starter. There will be uncertainty in the insurance markets. Premiums will rise,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.). “I think it’s wrong; I think it betrays President Trump’s campaign pledges.”