Mitch McConnell Loses Big As Senate Republicans Delay Healthcare Vote For Another Week

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan to quickly pass a secret health care bill that would end coverage for 22 million Americans hit more snags, as the vote on the bill was delayed for an additional week because Republicans still don’t have the votes to pass it.

Politico reported, “Senate Republicans are highly unlikely to vote next week to repeal Obamacare and are tentatively preparing for a vote in approximately two weeks, according to senators and officials on Capitol Hill and in the White House. The Congressional Budget Office is reviewing legislative language sent by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell; the Senate parliamentarian must weigh in on controversial proposals; and GOP leaders still have not forged a bill that can get 50 votes. Those factors are likely to push the pivotal roll call closer to the end of July than immediately after the July 4 recess.”

The vote on advancing the legislation to a final vote is increasingly looking like it may happen at the end of the month, and if the bill runs into any more hurdles, it will not meet the GOP’s goal of passage before the August recess. The legislation has to be voted on before Congress leaves for the August because the calendar for the rest of the year is packed with other issues. The debt ceiling will need to be raised, and Ryan and McConnell are aching to get to work on tax reform legislation. If the healthcare bill doesn’t pass before the end of July, there is a possibility that McConnell pulls the plug on the whole effort, because he is more interested in tax reform than healthcare.

There is still no clear path to 50 votes for this legislation. Sens. Dean Heller and Susan Collins look like firm no votes, and Republicans who don’t want Medicaid cut have not seen anything close to what they want in the legislation. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska has joined Collins in working on an amendment to keep Planned Parenthood funded, and if Republicans insist on defunding Planned Parenthood, the bill could be doomed.

Mitch McConnell’s plan was to draft this legislation in secret and pass it as quickly as possible, but now he is stuck in healthcare quagmire where he is in between two factions of his own party.

The healthcare bill has gone spectacularly wrong for McConnell, which is why no one should be surprised if he gives it one try at the end of July with the idea that failure means that Obamacare repeal is dead.