Following reports that a number of Senate Republicans are opposed to the current healthcare bill, the Senate GOP is delaying their effort to repeal-and-replace Obamacare until after the July 4 recess, marking a major setback for President Trump.
“We will not be on the bill this week,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told dozens of reporters later on Tuesday.
“We’re going to continue the discussions within our conference on the differences that we have that we’re continuing to try to litigate. Consequently, we will not be on the bill this week, but we’re still working toward getting at least 50 people in a comfortable place.”
“He simply said I think we need more time to work on it, we don’t have the votes right now,” Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) told reporters after the meeting.
“The hope is that we can at least come to an agreement on what we can get enough votes on and turn to it as soon as we come back. But we’ll see,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla)
“This is a very important issue dealing with people’s healthcare and I’d rather do it right than do it fast.”
“He explicitly said he wants to give us 72 more hours to work on members concerns,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.)
“We’re going to finish working out the issues by the end of the week so while we’re gone, those can be scored,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)
Both said McConnell wants a vote when they come back.
But Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the third-ranking GOP leader, said he’s not sure it will get any easier to move the bill.
“I’m of the view that that the politics of this doesn’t get any easier the longer you wait,” he said. “If we can make some changes that improve the policy in a way that makes it more likely for 50 of our senators to vote for it , then this was a good judgment on behalf of the leader.”
After McConnell announced the delay, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said, “The fight is not over” and Democrats do not yet feel “any sense of accomplishment.” He argued that the bill is “fundamentally flawed”.
Asked earlier whether he expected to work with Democrats, McConnell said, “They’re not interested in participating in this.”