Graham – Cassidy could have been killed today by Sen. John McCain
We are one week away from the last major showdown over the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The Republicans will lose their ability to pass legislation with just 50 through reconciliation next Saturday, September 30th at midnight. On October 1st reconciliation will be gone for 2017 and the Senate returns to regular order which means the passage of any legislation will take 60 votes.
So, today when Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) declared his opposition to the GOP’s last-ditch effort to repeal and replace “Obamacare,” dealing a likely death blow to the legislation and, perhaps, to the Republican Party’s years of vows to kill the program.
“I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal,” McCain said in a statement, referring to the bill by Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. His opposition likely leaves the bill at least one vote short of the support needed for passage.
So, the last shot at killing Obamacare, the Graham-Cassidy proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is set to be presented on Wednesday, with a vote coming sometime next Friday or Saturday. But now it might be dead before it even makes it to the floor
McCain pointed out that Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried,” he said in a statement.
Many members of the Senate led by McCain said, lawmakers have no “reliable answers” to questions about how much the bill will cost, how many people will be covered and how it will affect insurance premiums. There could not be a complete Congressional Budget Office score until the second week of October and that would mean the bill would go back to regular order, requiring 60 votes to pass.
The lack of a CBO puts the Senate in the rare position of voting for something without knowing its cost or the possible impact it might have on the existing marketplace.
McCain urged his colleagues to try to craft a bipartisan healthcare bill using “regular order.”
“We should not be content to pass health care legislation on a party-line basis, as Democrats did when they rammed Obamacare through Congress in 2009. If we do so, our success could be as short-lived as theirs,” he said.
So, with McCain coming out ahead the vote along with Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who earlier this said he was no vote means the Republicans can lose only one more vote or they can’t pass the bill.
That means both Susan Collins (R-Vermont.) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), both were in the not likely column can decide who will be the third and final no vote killing the potential legislation.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have both been pushing hard for the bill in recent days, and McCain’s best friend in the Senate, Graham, was an author. Trump declared during the presidential campaign that he would quickly demolish Obamacare and “it will be easy.”
But in point of fact, it has been anything but easy. The final push was the Graham-Cassidy bill but many members of the GOP in the Senate were supporting it for political reasons. They wanted to say that repealed and replaced Obamacare.
As for the proposed legislation, it would repeal major pillars of former President Barack Obama’s law, replacing them with block grants to states to design their own programs. Over 75 major medical groups are opposed, saying millions would lose insurance coverage and protections, and a bipartisan group of governors also has announced opposition.
Yet Republican congressional leaders, goaded by GOP voters and the president himself, were determined to give it one last try. Trump spent much of August attacking McConnell for his failure to pass a repeal bill, and Republican lawmakers back home during Congress’ summer recess heard repeatedly from voters angered that after seven years of promises to get rid of “Obamacare,” the party had not delivered.
The hope for a bi-partisan, comprehensive plan might pick up steam because of the McCain no vote. “John McCain shows the same courage in Congress that he showed when he was a naval aviator,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Friday. “I have assured Senator McCain that as soon as repeal is off the table, we Democrats are intent on resuming the bipartisan process.”
After the McCain announcement, there was plenty of support from Twitter. Led by former Tampa D.J and now late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel.
Thank you @SenJohnMcCain for being a hero again and again and now AGAIN
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) September 22, 2017
Senators Murray & Alexander are ready to get back to work on bipartisan ACA compromise.
RT if you support that vs. Grassidy. pic.twitter.com/r7u2dbhuKp
— Andy Slavitt (@ASlavitt) September 22, 2017
John McCain-a hero once again. Hopefully this will encourage other senators to have courage and kill this abomination once and for all.
— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) September 22, 2017