GOP Cancels Senate Vote On ACA Repeal Bill

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Senate Republicans will not vote on Graham-Cassidy, a GOP health care bill intended to replace the Affordable Care Act. The inability of Graham-Cassidy to accrue enough votes for passage effectively ended the GOP effort to repeal the ACA in 2017.

On Sept. 26, the Senate Majority Leader, GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, announced during a GOP lunch that there would not be a floor vote on Graham-Cassidy, CNN reports.

"We haven't given up on changing the American health care system," McConnell later said during a press conference. "We are not going to be able to do that this week. But it still lies ahead of us, and we haven't given up on that."

Senate Republicans had a Sept. 30 deadline for passing an ACA repeal through budget reconciliation, a congressional procedure that can advance legislation through simple majorities, thus bypassing the need for Democratic support. For the rest of 2017, Senate Democrats would be able to filibuster any GOP health care bill. Senate Republicans would have to implement another reconciliation provision into the 2018 or 2019 fiscal budgets to try the process again, according to Business Insider.

The GOP had 52 seats in the Senate and needed 50 votes to pass Graham-Cassidy through budget reconciliation. The bill's likelihood of passage became dim when three Senate Republicans publicly stated that they would vote against it.

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GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, John McCain of Arizona, and Rand Paul of Kentucky all voiced opposition to Graham-Cassidy, each for different reasons. Collins stated that she could not support the health care proposal until it received a Congressional Budget Office score, which it would not have before the reconciliation deadline. McCain disapproved of the speedy process of the bill's consideration, while Paul asserted that it would not do enough to repeal the ACA, according to NPR.

GOP Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina disclosed that McConnell would not hold a vote for Graham-Cassidy: "We don't have the votes right now, you don't vote until you have them."

Earlier that day, President Donald Trump reportedly signaled during a bipartisan meeting at the White House that he would collaborate with Democratic lawmakers on health care if Senate Republicans were unable to repeal the ACA with Graham-Cassidy.

"[Trump] made that clear that if he didn't get what he wanted, he was going to work with Democrats on a plan," Democratic Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts said after the meeting.

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Trump publicly stated that he still wants the ACA repealed and is "disappointed in certain so-called Republicans."

GOP Sen. John Thune of South Dakota asserted that the Republican effort to reshape the health care system would not end with Graham-Cassidy and that his colleagues may tie an ACA repeal to tax reform in the 2019 fiscal budget.

"The issue's not going away," Thune told Politico. "We'll be revisiting this issue at some point. If we can't do it in a reconciliation vehicle this year, then maybe it's the 2019 [budget]. I don't know. We'll see."

Sources: Business InsiderCNN, NPR, Politico / Featured Image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr / Embedded Images: Gage Skidmore/Flickr (2)

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