McConnell wants vote on health care bill by July 4th

Jonathan Swan, reporting for Axios:

Sources close to Mitch McConnell tell me the Majority Leader is dead serious about forcing a Senate vote on the Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill before the July 4 holiday.

Some senators want to delay the vote but McConnell views that as delaying the inevitable. There are no mysteries about what the toughest disagreements are over — Medicaid funding and insurance market regulations.

  • This week is crucial: the Senate won't vote without a CBO score, which means they need to finalize negotiations this week.
  • Behind-the-scenes: McConnell and Senate leaders have been at this for all of May and now first couple weeks of June, turning their weekly lunches into working sessions on various aspects of the healthcare legislation. They've whittled down the stack of items that people don't agree on. I've spoken to a number of people who know McConnell well who speculate that he'll force a vote regardless of whether he knows he has 50 votes. They say he's desperate to move on to tax reform and can't have healthcare hanging around like a bad smell through the summer.

This is a bill that's had zero discussion on the Senate Floor, and one that remains mysterious to everyone - even to much of the Republican leadership - except those drawing it up behind closed doors. 

There is not a whole lot that Senate Democrats can do to stop a vote on the health care bill. They plan on holding a "talk-a-thon" on the Senate floor, as well as look into any other parliamentary procedure that can potential halt Senate business until they can hold hearings on the ACHA.

Here is a statement from Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer:

If Republicans won’t relent and debate their health care bill in the open for the American people to see, then they shouldn’t expect business as usual in the Senate. Republicans are drafting this bill in secret because they’re ashamed of it, plain and simple.

This is a repeal to the single biggest piece of legislation of the last forty years, that Republicans are trying to rush it through the legislative process is asinine. Here's the thing, there are a number of Republican Senators who have complained about the secretive process in which this bill has been drawn up. If these GOP senators really wanted to have hearings, they could simply tell McConnell that they are not going to vote on the ACHA until it is out in the open and given time to be debated.

The last chance for this bill to have any real debate will be in the time between the CBO score being released and a final vote. McConnell's goal is to have a vote done between now and the July 4th Congressional recess. He simply does not want to have his colleagues going back and having to field questions from their constituents about the Senate's version of the ACHA. 

If you think it is important that our senators have open debate about what is in the new health care bill before they vote on it, I urge you to give your local representatives a call and express your feelings.