Republicans at the Senate have announced that they will delay voting for the GOP healthcare bill. A statement released Tuesday afternoon noted that voting will be postponed until the week long 4th of July recess is over. The move by the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, came as a number of Republican senators went publically against the proposed healthcare bill. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office had earlier confirmed that the new bill would lock 22 million Americans out of insurance. This was largely seen as one of the reasons why the Republican senators were holding out.
There were at least five senators from the Republican Party who were opposed to the draft bill. The five members included Republican moderates Susan Collins and Dean Heller. The two, in particular, said that they wouldn’t be voting for the healthcare bill because of the CBO score that was dismal at best as well as the decreased funding going towards Medicaid. Conservative Republicans like Mike Lee, Ron Johnson, and Rand Paul also held out saying that they did not believe the GOP bill was going to do enough to repeal and replace Obamacare.
The decision to delay voting received a wide range of reactions from senators. Moderate Republican from Alaska, Lisa Murkowski, welcomed the decision saying that it was an important step. The senator also admitted that she was not ready for the vote. The divisions within the GOP are proving a big challenge. It was not possible for McConnell to get enough votes to pass the bill to the floor for debate. Reports coming from various outlets have noted that the Republicans will use the one-week long 4th of July recess to rewrite the bill and see whether some of the contentious issues raised will be addressed.
The Party will then resubmit the bill for a fresh Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score. There was swift condemnation from Democrats and other healthcare groups once the CBO score for this current bill was released. The massive number of people who will be left without insurance and the cost of the entire healthcare bill have caused outrage among liberals as well as a section of Republicans. Senate majority whip, John Cornyn, told reporters that there was no chance of voting this week. The second highest ranking Republican in the House noted that there were still some issues and they needed more time to work on them.
The bill will only come to the house for voting once these issues are addressed. McConnell told reporters in a press briefing that healthcare was a big and complicated subject and said that he was working on getting at least 50 people to a comfortable position before the coming few weeks. The Senate majority leader had hoped the bill would be ready for a vote before the 4th of July recess in order to avoid prolonged public scrutiny. However, it seems he will have to wait just a little bit longer. There are also reports that indicate that the President invited Republicans to the White House on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the bill. However, there is still some work that needs to be done.