McConnell Obamacare repeal plan has already failed
12:15 PM, Jul 18, 2017
2:41 PM, Jul 18, 2017
Another day -- another excruciating setback for the Republican Party.
Three Republican senators said Tuesday that they would oppose a procedural vote to advance the Senate's efforts to overhaul Obamacare, once again plunging into chaos Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's latest efforts to make good on the GOP's seven-year campaign promise to gut the Affordable Care Act.
Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Susan Collins of Maine announced that they could not support any plan that would roll back significant parts of Obamacare without a replacement plan in place.
Those revelations came just hours after McConnell was forced to concede that his original attempt to repeal and replace the health care law at the same time was no longer a viable strategy. Acknowledging defeat, McConnell had proposed a Plan B late Monday night: move ahead with a vote to take up an Obamacare repeal bill that the House passed earlier this year and aim to introduce as an amendment a 2015 bill that would effectively roll back key parts of Obamacare after a two-year waiting period.
That legislation was approved by a GOP-controlled Congress in 2015 and vetoed by then-President Barack Obama.
And the opposition that trickled out into the public Tuesday reinforced a painful reality for many Republicans to swallow -- that after years of railing against Obamacare, there is now not enough will within the party to pursue wholesale repeal of the law.
"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."
She later tweeted she would not vote to move forward on a motion to proceed to repeal Obamacare without a replacement.
Murkowski called for Republicans to develop a new proposal in committees, a step that has thus far been skipped by GOP leadership in the chamber.
"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 weight of the most recent development quickly cast a shadow over Republicans on Capitol Hill Tuesday afternoon.
Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican and a key vote, reflected that it might be time for Republicans 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."
Meanwhile, with some GOP lawmakers' key priorities like boosting funding for the opioid crisis now also stalled, Republicans who were planning to vote for the Senate health care bill are looking at their colleagues bewildered by the latest state of play.
"It was not the best possible bill, but it was the best bill possible," said Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas. "When you can't even get to a motion to proceed, you're in pretty bad shape."
Asked what it said about the Republican Party's ability to govern, Roberts candidly replied "not much."
Amid the news of McConnell's latest defeat, President Donald Trump told reporters during a luncheon with Afghanistan veterans at the White House that he was "very disappointed" by Senate Republican's inability to pass health care. He added that his new plan is to "let Obamacare fail and then the Democrats are going to come to us."
Even still, Trump said Tuesday 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."