The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, has predicted the GOP health care bill to repeal and replace the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act will not be able to garner enough votes to pass. McCain has called for his party to involve Democrats in any future bill to reform the U.S. health care system.
On July 9, McCain chastised his GOP colleagues' process of drafting the Better Care Reconciliation Act, noting that Democrats were not asked to participate in the important legislation.
"I don't understand it ... if you shut the adversary or the opposite party, you're going to end up the same way Obamacare did when they rammed it through with 60 votes," McCain told CBS News' John Dickerson during an interview. "Only guess what? We don't have 60 votes, John."
Republicans currently have 52 seats in the Senate. Republican Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky needs to drum up 50 Republican votes on the BCRA to pass the legislation through budget reconciliation, a procedure that only requires a simple majority. Otherwise, the bill would require 60 votes, meaning that Republicans would have to involve Democrats.
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Ten Republican senators had publicly announced opposition towards the BCRA by July 10, CNN reports.
McCain predicted that McConnell would be unable to sway enough opposing Republicans to pass the ACA replacement bill through budget reconciliation.
"I think my view is it's probably going to be dead, but I am -- I've been wrong," said McCain, a former Republican presidential nominee. "I thought I'd be president of the United States. But I think I fear that it's going to fail. And then we should convene a Republican conference, say, 'What are we going to do?'"
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McCain suggested that Senate Republicans reach out to their Democratic colleagues to draft legislation that would garner 60 votes.
"Say to Democrats, 'Here's a bill,'" McCain said. "It doesn't mean they don't, that they control it. It means they can have amendments considered. And even when they lose, then they're part of the process. That's what democracy is supposed to be all about."
Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana echoed McCain's sentiment that the BCRA was unlikely to pass, at least in its current incarnation.
"We don't know what the plan is," Cassidy told Fox News. "Clearly, the draft plan is dead. Is the serious rewrite plan dead? I don't know."
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has applied pressure to the GOP majority in the Senate to rally around the BCRA.
On July 9, Trump took to social media to suggest that Republicans would be betraying a campaign promise if they did not outright repeal the ACA.
"For years, even as a 'civilian,' I listened as Republicans pushed the Repeal and Replace of ObamaCare," Trump tweeted. "Now they finally have their chance!"