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Senate GOP seeks assurances House won't make health bill law

30 Julio 2017, 12:29 | Bibiana Flor

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The back-and-forth played out as the Senate prepared for a freaky Capitol Hill ritual, a "vote-a-rama" on amendments that promised to last into the wee hours of Friday morning - at the end of which, the path ahead would perhaps be clearer.

Both the bill passed by the House and the Senate's original repeal and replace legislation would also eliminate the individual mandate.

Before the vote, at 10:43 p.m. ET, Trump was rooting them on in a tweet: "Go Republican Senators. Go!" Can they get anything done? They all had the power to stop a bill many openly trashed as a joke and conceded would do great damage. @LindseyGrahamSC is indeed at the White House this A.M., a spokesman confirms. The House and original Senate bills would have gotten rid of it completely. Those Democrat Senators, Baier speculated, are likely to feel the wrath of increasingly frustrated Americans who continue to watch the Senate block conservative legislation the President advocates. The other eight await action - after Labor Day. The bill died, and with it perhaps, finally, the quixotic vote to end Obamacare.

The "skinny repeal" bill would repeal it for three years.

Graham told reporters that passing a scaled-down version of a bill that would repeal Obamacare "politically would be the dumbest thing in history". It makes you more motivated to consider it. Also not completed, a 2018 budget blueprint.


"I've stated time and time again that one of the major failures of Obamacare was that it was rammed through Congress by Democrats on a strict party-line basis without a single Republican vote", he said. Why is this important?

Conservative Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., who's running for a vacant Senate seat, suggested it was time for McConnell to relinquish his post. But later, he told reporters that Ryan had assured him and others in a phone conversation that the House would hold talks with the Senate.

But, he stressed, there is still time for Republicans to land other victories, including on tax reform. In total, 51 senators-the three rogue Republicans, plus all 48 Democratic senators-voted against the repeal, while 49 Republicans voted in favor. And since the House is now out until September 5 - that's five weeks where it's not going to happen, and then later in September, Congress will be consumed with a possible government shutdown, and the need to raise the nation's debt limit.

Hours before the failed vote Trump tweeted: "Go Republican Senators, Go!" If this fails, the process fails, so the Senate should just pass this and allow a conference committee to work towards a different solution.

Insurers warned against approval of a bill that would eliminate the requirement that almost all Americans be covered by insurance because they say the mandate is needed to keep younger, healthy people in their risk pools. Under the course that Senator McConnell wants the Senate to embark on now, the most consequential piece of domestic legislation in years - with a strong potential to hurt tens of millions of people and destabilize the nation's health insurance markets - would nearly certainly be written in secret by Republican leaders and sprung on rank-and-file members in September.


And some Republicans still have concerns about its contents and the process. House majority's so-called "self-executing rule": a maneuver to prevent legislators from having to go on record for or against border wall. Get there after waiting for 7 years. We're not talking about meeting the 60-vote threshold; they had not been able find 50 votes (plus Vice President Mike Pence's tiebreaker) for any version of repeal and replace. "A lot of them said 'root and branch.' Now, we're so far away from that". They are modeled on an approach that MA passed in 2006 under former Republican Gov. Mitt Romney.

"If the Speaker says they're not going to the floor with it, then they're not going to the floor", Rounds said. Senators who vote for the "skinny repeal" proposal would be creating the conditions for deep cuts that aren't in the "skinny" bill itself but would emerge from the conference.

In Nevada, Republican Danny Tarkanian-a frequent candidate who has been considering a primary challenge to Sen. Just when McConnell thought he had scraped the votes together for his "skinny repeal" measure, McCain revolted. Trump has only guaranteed the payments through July, which ends Monday.

You know what else sends the message you want to "return to the correct way of legislating"? In conference, legislators must work with provisions that are already in either bill, they may not add new provisions. Congress must act to raise the debt ceiling.

It was a moment burning with drama, irony and contradictions, playing out live on a tense Senate floor. But many Republicans have little appetite for entering negotiations on the issue with Democrats.




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