As Senate Bill Dies, President Trump, Mitch McConnell Call for Clean Repeal of Obamacare Now, Replacement Later

Trump on phone Evan VucciAP
Evan Vucci/AP

President Donald J. Trump is calling on congressional Republicans to drop their failed efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare in one fell swoop and instead pass a clean repeal of the failed health care overhaul from the previous administration now and push through a bipartisan replacement plan later.

Trump’s tweet on Monday evening comes after two more Senate Republicans–Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS)–joined Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Susan Collins (R-ME), together crushing a plan from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

McConnell’s plan, which has hit a number of roadblocks, failed to garner enough GOP support to pass the Senate. The latest iteration of the bill–the third overall, incorporating a watered-down version of an amendment from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)–was put on hold over the weekend after plans to hold a vote this week were delayed because Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) underwent a craniotomy surgical procedure in Arizona. McCain’s vote would have been needed to pass the bill, but with Lee and Moran now against the legislation, the bill would fail even with his vote.

Lee’s and Moran’s public statements against the Senate bill kill it once and for all.

McConnell is now saying he will support Trump’s idea of passing clean repeal of Obamacare now and a replacement of Obamacare later. The legislation for a clean repeal of Obamacare has already passed both chambers of Congress in 2015, with a majority in the House and in the Senate voting for it.

It’s hard to imagine the clean repeal of Obamacare–the 2015 bill–would fail in the House or the Senate, given that most of the GOP members in both chambers have already voted for it.

From here, it is unclear as of yet what the timeline will be. But Republicans in Congress wasted nearly seven months of the Trump administration–Thursday will mark seven months exactly since Trump’s inauguration–fiddling around with repeal and replace at the same time.

House Speaker Paul Ryan similarly failed multiple times to pass his own version of the Senate bill for months, and it was only after he left Washington for Europe and Hollywood that Republican rank-and-file House members from the House Freedom Caucus and the Tuesday Group were able, outside the purview of Ryan, negotiate their own fix to pass the bill through the House.


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