POC: Senate May Vote on Some Version of a GOP Healthcare Bill

Senate Republicans To Hold Healthcare Vote This Week
Protect Our Care July 24, 2017

The Washington Times (7/23, Swoyer) reports that the Senate will vote this week “on whether or not to open debate on the House’s health care bill,” but “several senators on Sunday appeared unclear on exactly which direction the Senate will go this week after they’ve been debating whether or not to repeal Obamacare and replace it later, or to repeal and replace in one push.” Reuters (7/23, Becker) also says “it remained unclear which version of the bill senators would vote on.” Sen. Susan Collins said on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” “It appears we’ll have a vote on Tuesday but we don’t know whether we’ll be voting on the House bill, the first version of the Senate bill, the second version of the Senate bill.”

The AP (7/23, Yen) reports that Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune told Fox News Sunday that it is “not yet known whether the legislation will seek to replace the Affordable Care Act or simply repeal it.” According to Thune, Majority Leader McConnell “will make a decision soon on which bill to bring up for a vote, depending on ongoing discussions with GOP senators.” Thune said, “That’s a judgment that Senator McConnell will make at some point this week before the vote.” While he “express[ed] his own hope it will be a repeal-and-replace measure,” he added, “But no matter which camp you’re in, you can’t have a debate about either unless we get on the bill. So we need a ‘yes’ vote.” Thune also told Fox that if the repeal effort falls short this week, Republicans will try againPolitico (7/23, Ehley) reports. Thune said, “What will happen is, if and when that were to occur, we’ll go back to the drawing board and get a bill up. ... We are going to vote to repeal and replace Obamacare. It’s not a question of ‘if,’ it’s a question of ‘when.”

The Washington Post (7/23, Goldstein) reports that Sen. John Barrasso “indicated” Sunday that Republicans “may not have enough support to prevail on even a first step — a routine vote to begin the floor debate.” Barrasso told CBS’ “Face the Nation,” “We’re continuing to work with all of the members. We’re getting much closer to that.” The Wall Street Journal (7/23, Andrews, Armour, Peterson) says a failure on the motion to proceed would be a defeat for Trump and Republicans, and could mean the end of their efforts to overhaul the ACA. The Journal adds that there is little indication that senators who opposed the Senate bill earlier this month have changed their minds.

On ABC’s This Week (7/23, Stephanopoulos), White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the President’s preference is repeal and replace, saying that he is “committed to repealing and replacing Obamacare,” and The Hill (7/23, Bolton) cites two senators who attended last week’s meeting with Trump at the White House who said that “McConnell revived the Senate’s version of the repeal-and-replace legislation after Trump pressed him directly on it.”

The Los Angeles Times (7/23, Wigglesworth) reports that in a tweet Sunday night, Trump “sought to turn up the pressure on Republican lawmakers,” writing that “if they fail to pass legislation to roll back his predecessor’s healthcare law, ‘the repercussions will be far greater than any of them understand!’” It was unclear “whether Trump was referring to political repercussions for lawmakers or those that would be felt by Americans seeking health coverage absent the passage of legislation to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.”