The process to repeal and replace Obamacare has had its own share of barriers since the GOP took over the Senate and this week it could be a make or break moment. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has to bring the bill to the House for voting and in order to secure the required numbers before the week long 4th of July recess, there are a number of changes that need to be done. According to Chris Krueger, an analyst at Cowen Washington Research Group, this is perhaps the most consequential week for the Trump presidency and also for Capitol Hill. A lot of things are riding on this bill and the pressure is now squarely on McConnell to deliver.
Interested groups are expected to release their thoughts about the bill on Monday and there are reports suggesting that nearly 20 million Americans will be out of the Better Care Reconciliation Act by the year 2026. One of the most important rallying points for opponents of the GOP affordable care act will be the proposal to cover losses. But there is a small issue. The procedural key here will be tested based on the effects the bill has on the federal deficit. According to the rules for the Budget Reconciliation Process that the Republicans are using to see the bill through, the BCRA will have to reduce the federal deficit by more or at least the same amount as the version by the House.
The House version is looking to reduce the federal deficit by $133 billion over the next 10 years. If indeed the GOP can get there, then the road will be clear for McConnell to call for a vote. This will then trigger 20 hours of Senate debate. There are reports that all this could commence on Tuesday but there is also a chance it could be pushed forward to Wednesday in case Republican Party leaders need to make a few changes to the bill in order to bring on board those who are still holding out. After the debate, there will be a “vote-a-rama” session. This is basically the time senators are allowed to introduce whatever amendments they see fit to the proposed bill.
It is expected that the Democratic Party will use a number of stall tactics at this stage albeit it’s very unlikely that the proposed amendments here will be adopted. This will then pave the way for voting on the bill that is expected to take place between Thursday and Friday. Despite all the efforts of the GOP Party to rally support, there is still a possibility that the bill could fail to pass. For Mitch McConnell, in order for the healthcare act to pass, he can afford to lose only two votes and so far, there are about five senators from the GOP Party who have come out and opposed the revised bill publicly. Four of the conservatives who are opposed to the bill have made it clear that they don’t feel it will do anything to replace Obamacare. There are also a few other moderate senators who are yet to declare where they stand. It’s surely going to be a week of intrigues at the Capitol.