Senate delays vote on ACA repeal, replacement bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will delay a vote on the chamber's healthcare bill in order to whip up enough votes to ensure its passage. (Gage Skidmore/CC BY-SA 2.0)

In a scenario that calls to mind the House’s struggle to pass its own version of a healthcare bill, the Senate now plans to delay voting on the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 until after the July 4 recess.

The move comes amid growing doubts that Senate GOP leadership could garner enough support from reluctant moderates and conservatives alike to reach the 50 votes needed to pass the budget reconciliation measure.

At least four Republican senators said they would vote against the measure as of Monday—two more than the party could spare with no Democratic support for the bill. Adding to the opposition to the bill was a score released Monday by the Congressional Budget Office, which estimated the bill would increase the number of uninsured by 22 million as of 2026.

Republicans originally planned for the Senate to vote on the healthcare bill later this week, hoping to prevent the potential loss of momentum that could come with waiting until after the holiday.

Yet Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told Republican senators on Tuesday that he wants to amend the bill and obtain a new CBO score before bringing it up for a vote after the recess, according to CNN.

A White House official and a GOP aide also told the news outlet that White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Vice President Mike Pence invited all Republican senators to the White House on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the healthcare bill.

The House also was forced to delay voting on its healthcare overhaul, called the American Health Care Act, until GOP leaders could make changes to the bill to appease reluctant party members.