At some point, either today or tomorrow, Senate Republicans must hold a procedural vote on Obamacare if they have prayer of passing the legislation before the July 4th recess, a stated goal of Senate Majority Lead Mitch McConnell. The procedural vote will kick off 20 hours of required debate and flurry of amendments so if it slips beyond tomorrow then the whole repeal process will almost certainly slip as well. According to The Hill, at least four Republican Senators are currently opposed to the motion to proceed:
At least four Republicans say they may vote against their party on the motion to proceed, underscoring the opposition to McConnell’s bill.
The defectors include centrist Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), who panned the bill on Twitter Monday evening; fellow moderate Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.); and two conservatives, Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.).
McConnell can only afford two defections.
A loss on the procedural vote would certainly end work on the measure this week, and it could be a brutal blow to getting the legislation through the Senate on a later timeframe.
As we pointed out last week, a number of Republican Senators have publicly declared their opposition to McConnell’s bill as it’s currently drafted. Senators Rand Paul (KY), Ted Cruz (TX), Ron Johnson (WI) and Mike Lee (UT) even issued a joint statement though they’re certainly not the only Republicans that seem to have reservations.
John Weaver, a Republican strategist and former senior advisor to Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), who opposes the Senate bill, said it would be very difficult for conservatives to kill the legislation — especially on a procedural vote.
Johnson, Lee and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) are demanding regulatory reforms for their votes, which risks upsetting the political balance that has kept moderates on board so far.
Another group of Republicans, Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), are worried about phasing out generous federal funding of expanded Medicaid enrollment. They met with leaders in McConnell’s Capitol office Monday evening to extract last-minute changes.
As we noted last night, the latest CBO score on the Senate’s bill show that it’s about $320 billion favorable to the budget deficit. Most of the cuts come courtesy of Medicaid ($772 billion) which are then offset by tax cuts ($541 billion). All of which, of course, means that McConnell has about $320 billion to buy off enough Senators as necessary.
— Charles Ornstein (@charlesornstein) June 26, 2017
So what say you? Does McConnell have any hopes of getting this bill passed by Friday or is he headed for a Paul Ryan-ish embarrassment.