Republicans Need 50 Votes to Repeal Obamacare
President Trump has been pumping up the pressure for his “Repeal and Replace” plan. Last week, he held a lunch for all Republican senators. At the lunch, Trump worked on getting everyone on the same page to repeal Obamacare. So now, the Republicans are pushing for one last attempt to debate and vote on the Better Care Reconciliation Act. It is unclear what amendments to the legislation will be pushed forward. “It’s hard to make a determination when you don’t know what you’re proceeding to,” remarked Sen. Rand Paul.
If Senator Mitch McConnel wants to get the bill approved, he would need 50 out of 52 Senate Republicans support. In other words, he can only afford losing 2 votes. Senator Susan Collins of Maine says she remains a firm no. There are still many Senators who are undecided on their vote. Republican senators will meet behind closed doors for their weekly lunch at 12:45 p.m. During that meeting Republicans will make their final pitch will be made by rank-and-file members who want to move forward with this process. I’m not blindly voting,” said Sen. Rand Paul Monday night when members were still waiting to see if leadership had a plan on what bill to ultimately substitute.
Senators Worry About Repealing Without Replacing
John Boehner had a lot to say about the passing of the bill. “We are, seven months into this year, and yet they’ve not passed this bill.” Boehner told a private audience in Las Vegas last week. At a conference back in February, Boehner said that “in the 25 years that I served in the United States Congress, Republicans never, ever one time agreed on what a health care proposal should look like.” He added, “All this happy talk that went on in November and December and January about repeal, repeal, repeal – yeah we’ll do replace, replace. I started laughing because if you pass repeal without replace first, anything that happens is your fault. You broke it.”
No senator wants to be the senator to kill the movement being pushed by the BCRA without a clear replacement; it’s like voting blind. Several senators (among them Collins, Capito, and Murkowski), have said they want a “replace” plan ready to go before voting “yes.” Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio has made his stance clear that “repeal-only” is not a satisfactory option for him. Senators have been given promises and assurances regarding specific policy provisions that will be in the final product.
What Happens Next?
With a vote of 51 to 50, Republicans can now begin debating on repealing and replacing the ACA. The debate period lasts up to 20 hours, focusing on various amendments to the House version of the bill. After the debate, they will begin a period of successive votes on the presented amendments. After the period of vote-a-rama, the legislation would move to a final vote. If passed, the same version will be approved by the House before being presented to the president for signature.
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