In one sign of progress, conservative Sen. Rand Paul, Republican from Kentucky, said he would support commencing debate
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican from Kentucky, walks from the chamber as he steers the Senate toward a crucial vote on the Republican health care bill, in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017. photo: AP/J. Scott Applewhite, photo: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
25 of July 2017 12:47:25
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump urged Republicans to "step up to the plate" for Tuesday's crucial Senate vote on their bill eviscerating much of the Obama health care law. A cliff-hanger roll call was likely, with added drama from Sen. John McCain's return to the Capitol for his first vote since being diagnosed with brain cancer.No stranger to heroic episodes, the Navy pilot who persevered through five years of captivity during the Vietnam War announced he'd be back in Washington for the critical roll call on beginning debate on the legislation. The 80-year-old had been at home in Arizona since he revealed last week that he's undergoing treatment for the disease, but a statement said he "looks forward" to returning for work on health care and other legislation.
As the initial vote approached, it remained unclear exactly which version of the legislation Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican from Kentucky, would put in play. Republicans expect McCain to support taking up the measure, and his mere presence could make it harder for wavering Republicans to cast a vote against even considering the bill.Keeping pressure on GOP senators, McConnell noted that many "made commitments to our constituents to provide relief from this failed left-wing experiment. And now we have a real opportunity to keep those commitments." He added, "I hope everyone will seize the moment."In one sign of progress, conservative Sen. Rand Paul, Republican from Kentucky, said he would support commencing debate. He said McConnell told him the Senate would debate Paul's proposal to scuttle much of Obama's law and give Congress two years to enact a replacement — an amendment that seemed certain to lose.Democrats uniformly oppose the effort to tear down President Barack Obama's signature legislative achievement. Republicans control the chamber 52-48, meaning they can afford to lose just two Republicans with McCain around and only one in his absence. Vice President Mike Pence would cast a tie-breaking vote.
Donald Trump doesn’t know what health care bill the Senate will vote on, but if it fails, it’s not his fault, believe him pic.twitter.com/VGmhE3F4zg— HuffPost (@HuffPost) July 24, 2017
Big day for HealthCare. After 7 years of talking, we will soon see whether or not Republicans are willing to step up to the plate!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2017
McConnell's bill would abolish much of Obama's law, eliminating its tax penalties on people not buying policies, cutting Medicaid, eliminating its tax boosts on medical companies and providing less generous health care subsidies for consumers. But at least a dozen GOP senators have openly said they oppose or criticized the measure, which McConnell has revised as he's hunted Republican support.While the first vote had long seemed headed toward defeat, Republicans began showing glimmers of optimism. Senators and aides said talks were continuing aimed at winning over enough Republicans to commence debate.Besides allowing an early vote on Paul's repeal plan, moderates were seeking additional money for states that would be hurt by cuts in Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor, the disabled and nursing home patients. Conservatives wanted a vote on a proposal by Ted Cruz, Republican from Texas, letting insurers offer bare-bones policies with low premiums, which would be illegal under Obama's law.With leaders still struggling to line up enough votes to approve a wide-ranging overhaul of Obama's law, there was talk of eventually trying to pass a narrow bill — details still unclear — so House-Senate bargainers could craft a compromise. That, too, was encountering problems.
ObamaCare is torturing the American People.The Democrats have fooled the people long enough. Repeal or Repeal & Replace! I have pen in hand.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 25, 2017