The Senate will not vote on the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal Obamacare, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly told Republicans in a closed-door meeting.
CNN reported that three sources informed them that McConnell met with lawmakers Tuesday to take stock of where his members were on the proposal and made the call once and for all if Graham-Cassidy, the latest bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, will get a vote in the Senate.
Democrats immediately responded with a sense of relief.
“While I’m relieved that Senate Republicans are abandoning a vote on the Graham-Cassidy bill, I am a no and was always a no on this irresponsible scheme,” said Sen. Bob Casey, Pennsylvania Democrat. “This bill would have raised premiums and reduced protections for families while decimating Medicaid. It’s time for Republicans in Washington to end this obsession with repeal and engage in bipartisan discussions to improve our health care system.”
On Monday, Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, finally came out against the bill, a position she’d been teetering toward for days. Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Rand Paul of Kentucky had already opposed the measure.
The calculations for health care are agonizing for McConnell, CNN reported.
Putting a controversial bill on the floor without the votes exposes members to political fallout and attack ads. Many Republicans haven’t even taken a public position on Graham-Cassidy, a bill that the Congressional Budget Office said would drastically cut Medicaid and lead to millions of people not having health insurance compared to the status quo.
But some senators have been pushing for a vote regardless of outcome.
“We are going to press on,” South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham told CNN’s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash at town hall debate in Washington Monday night. “It’s OK to vote. It’s OK to fall short, if you do, for an idea that you believe in.”
Regardless of what happens to Graham-Cassidy, there are signs that plenty of Republicans in Washington — both in the White House and on Capitol Hill — are simply not ready to give up.
President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he was “disappointed” in several senators, in an apparent reference to McCain, Paul and Collins.
“At some point there will be a repeal and replace but we’ll see whether or not that point is now or whether it will be shortly thereafter,” Trump said. “But we are disappointed in certain so-called Republicans.”
On Capitol Hill, there are rumblings among lawmakers about ways to keep trying on repeal if this week ends with defeat — the current legislative vehicle that Republicans are using to move a health care bill without any Democratic support expires after Saturday.
One idea — which hardly enjoys widespread support at the moment — is to tie both health care and tax reform to the 2018 budget.
Graham and Sen. Ron Johnson, who both sit on the budget committee, have advocated for this idea.
It has raised concerns among Republican lawmakers and staff alike who know just how messy that could potentially be.
One GOP aide bluntly described that scenario to CNN as “a nightmare.”