On Thursday, the Senate GOP’s bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act — a bill President Donald Trump has called a “catastrophe” — would be up for a vote in the Senate, setting up a showdown over the future of the nation’s health insurance program.
Senate Republicans voted along party lines Thursday morning to pass the GOP’s repeal bill, setting off a week-long partisan battle over the fate of the ACA that has seen Republicans try to rally support from the White House in their effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Health Care Act.
Trump has also repeatedly vowed to “end” the ACA and vowed to use the “nuclear option” on the legislation.
But in an effort to ensure that the measure doesn’t become law, McConnell announced Thursday afternoon that the Senate would not take up the repeal bill as is.
“I think it’s time for us to take a step back and really look at what we need to do to help the American people,” McConnell said.
“We have a responsibility to protect the Constitution and the American way of life.
I think we’ve got a right in our democracy to protect that.”
McConnell’s statement comes as Senate Republicans continue to grapple with the possibility of a potentially catastrophic failure of the Senate’s Obamacare repeal effort.
The House passed a bill Thursday night that would have stripped away the ACA’s taxes and regulations, which Republicans claim are hurting the economy.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, said Thursday that he thinks the bill should be sent to the Senate for a “yes or no” vote, which he believes would be a no-brainer.
“No one in this chamber has voted for repealing the ACA.
They have voted for a repeal and they’ve voted for some form of repeal.
It’s just that they’ve done it in a way that would make them feel good about themselves,” Cornyn said.
Cornyn also said the GOP bill would allow insurers to sell policies that exclude coverage for preexisting conditions.
“The House bill would have given them the right to deny coverage to people who have preexisted conditions, and we would have been able to go to court and get an injunction that would protect people who were able to purchase insurance under the House bill,” he said.
But Cornyn is also warning that any vote to approve the House’s bill will likely result in the legislation being vetoed by Trump.
“When the president vetoes it, the bill will fail,” Cornino said.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, also told reporters Thursday that the House is considering a “no” vote on the House GOP bill.
“It’s a vote that would fail,” Ryan said.
Ryan also said he thinks Republicans will be able to pass their version of the bill in the next two weeks.
“That’s what I’ve been telling people,” Ryan added.
“You have to move quickly, and there’s a chance that we could be able now to move a package over to the House.”
Cornyn added that he does not believe Republicans will end up getting the necessary votes to get a vote on their bill.
If the Senate is unable to pass a bill, it would likely end up in the House, where the measure could be subject to the “precautionary veto” provision of the Constitution.
A bill to replace the ACA is expected to be voted on this week.