Revised Senate bill expected on Thursday
On Monday, senators returned from their ten day recess to revisit and revise the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the controversial health bill which has been at the top of Congress’s docket for weeks now as pressure to repeal and replace Obamacare continues to mount from Republicans and concerned constituents alike. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell originally intended for the bill to be voted on before the July 4th recess, but lack of support and the increasing possibility of a failed bill forced the delay.
On Tuesday, McConnell announced that the new bill should be expected as early as this upcoming Thursday with an amended CBO score being released at the beginning of next week. He also indicated that the upcoming (and month long) August recess would be cut in half so that senators could have more time to complete actions on various legislations and process nominees.
More to the point, however, this delay would allow senators more time to consider the BCRA while advocates of the bill whip up support for its continued existence.
The question that remains to be answered is, simply put, “Will the upcoming revised bill be enough?”
Before the recess, five senators were firm in their disapprobation of the Senate bill, and even in their disapprobation, there was hardly unison. Some senators, such as Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, opposed the bill on the grounds that it was not conservative enough, especially since Republicans have time and time again promised a complete overhaul of the Affordable Care Act. Others, like Sen. Dean Heller from Nevada, thought that the bill was too harsh, especially in terms of its stringent cuts on Medicaid. Amendments on the bill will have to appease both sides of the argument in order for the support of the majority of these senators to be captured. Again, it is important to note that McConnell cannot afford to lose more than two votes in order to see the Senate bill passed.
Senators are not only split in their opinion of the bill, but in their confidence of its survival. Sen. John McCain notably said that it was “very possible, very probable” that the bill will be dead on arrival, whereas Sen. John Cornyn is “optimistic” about its chances.
McConnell has expressed his hopes that the bill will be voted on by the end of next week.