P2vnjvupjgazdwptr1ik

Tierney Sneed

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.

Articles by

The insurance industry’s top trade group didn’t explicitly call out Republicans’ so-called “skinny repeal” Obamacare plan that the Senate plans to vote on either late Thursday or Friday morning.

But a letter from America’s Health Insurance Plans sent to congressional leaders Thursday did take a not-so-veiled shot at what’s expected to be in the proposal: a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate without a comprehensive replacement, or even a similar continuous coverage requirement.

Read More →

Alice Ollstein contributed reporting.

If the Senate can make it through the hellish tunnel of show votes they’re currently in that gets them to the narrow legislation that keeps Obamacare repeal alive, it will be only after Republicans’ dreams of gutting Medicaid are abandoned — at least for now.

Two bills that would have imposed major cuts to the program both failed in votes that experienced significant Republican defections. More broadly, by last week, it was clear that the Senate GOP had overreached in seeking to overhaul the traditional Medicaid program within its Obamacare legislation. Try as they might, the GOP couldn’t get enough Republicans on board with a massive Medicaid overhaul to make the replacement legislation, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, passable.

Read More →

Democrats got to ask Republicans who have been critical of the secretive, hasty Obamacare repeal process to put their money where their mouths are in a symbolic vote Wednesday to send the legislation they’re considering to the relevant committee.

The vote on the motion, offered by Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) (pictured above), failed 48-52 on party lines. Donnelly’s motion would have sent the legislation back to the Finance Committee to strip the language cutting Medicaid. Later Wednesday a vote is expected on a motion offered by Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) that would send the bill back to Finance to strike language that reduced the health care coverage for those with disabilities. Wednesday is the 27th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Read More →

Update: The vote on the repeal-and-delay bill, as well as the procedural maneuvers regarding defending Planned Parenthood expected to precede it, has been delayed until 3:30 p.m. ET.

Having successfully approved a motion to proceed on Obamacare repeal legislation Tuesday, the GOP Senate moves into day two Wednesday of a politically uncomfortable and unpredictable series of votes as they lurch toward a final vote on passing some sort of legislation to dismantle the Affordable Care Act by the end of this week.

Expect lots of floor speeches and at least a few votes that are mostly symbolic, but will also serve as inflection points on where the Republican conference is on the repeal effort.

Read More →

Senate Republicans’ successful vote Tuesday to move forward with a yet-to-be determined Obamacare repeal effort may have kept the GOP’s long-held dream of dismantling the Affordable Care Act alive.

But their willingness to jump into a politically chaotic and tenuous abyss, where there is no guarantee of a final replacement bill or even a comprehensive repeal measure, reflects that they are still well short of delivering the consensus alternative they for seven years promised would come once a Republican was in the White House.

Read More →

Additional reporting by Cameron Joseph

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said the extended, tense-looking conversation he had with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on the Senate floor Tuesday while withholding his vote to move forward with Obamacare repeal was about him being a “positive influence” and denied that it was heated.

McConnell’s top deputy, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), who participated at times in the mystery huddle, said Johnson had some “objections” and “frustration” about the process.

For more than five minutes, Johnson and McConnell engaged in a private back-and-forth as Johnson’s vote remained uncast on a key procedural vote to advance a yet-to-be-determined Obamacare repeal bill — a vote that could have killed or kept alive the effort. McConnell at one point threw up his hands in seeming frustration. The suspenseful conversation ended when Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) returned to the floor for the first time since his cancer diagnosis to a standing ovation. He and Johnson cast the votes to create a tie that Vice President Mike Pence broke to put the GOP over the top and proceed to debate on the legislation.

Heading into the Senate chamber before the vote, Johnson wouldn’t tell TPM how he planned to vote on the motion to proceed, saying only cryptically that he needed to go “talk to the leader.”

He did vote in favor of advancing the legislation after all, and played coy after the vote when reporters ask if that was his plan before his discussion with the McConnell.

You always have your options,” he said.

Asked repeatedly about what their conversation was about, Johnson would only say that he wanted to “express” to McConnell that he “wanted to be a positive influence and provide as much positive input into a better result.”

He also admitted that seeing McCain show up in the chamber a yes vote made it harder for him to vote no.

That would have been a pretty tough no vote,” Johnson said

“I was happy to join Senator McCain,” he added.

Johnson has been a thorn in Senate GOP leadership’s side as it sought to cobble together a consensus repeal bill. He joined three conservatives in rejecting the first version of the Senate Obamacare replacement, the Better Care Reconciliation Act. He has complained repeatedly about the slap-dash process Republicans have used to go forward, culminating in Tuesday’s vote to open debate on a bill, despite Republicans not really knowing what that bill will look like.

Cornyn, asked by reporters later, painted a slightly less rosy picture of what Johnson’s conversation was really about.

“Well, Senator Johnson, like others, has had some objections to the process, which is admittedly cumbersome, because you’re getting no Democratic cooperation, you have to do it under the budget reconciliation rules, so it’s frustrating for everybody,” Cornyn said. “Some of it’s frustration. But I’m glad he voted to proceed to the bill, and look forward to working with him.”

The Senate GOP’s Obamacare repeal effort overcame a major procedural hurdle Tuesday – but there remained no clear plan for what the final legislation would look like or whether it could win support to pass.

The 51-50 vote – Vice President Mike Pence broke the tie – on what is called a motion to proceed opened debate on a yet-to-be-determined repeal bill. It was a dramatic inflection point in Republicans’ struggle to act on a major campaign promise.

After Obamacare repeal looked all but dead in the Senate, several GOP moderates softened or reversed their positions, clearing the way for the effort to continue. They included Sens. Dean Heller (R-NV), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Rob Portman (R-OH).

Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) were the only two Republican no votes on the motion. All the Democrats opposed the motion.

The final gavel on the vote was delayed as Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), recently diagnosed with brain cancer, flew back to Washington from Arizona. He cast the 49th yes vote.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) delayed casting his vote, for reasons that were not immediately clear. He was engaged in an extended conversation with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on the floor as the vote was pending, before casting the 50th yes vote.

The plan emerging in the hours before the successful vote was for the Senate to vote in the days to come on competing repeal-and-replace plans which lack the votes for passage, before ultimately landing on what is unfortunately being termed “skinny repeal.” The idea is to pass the barest of repeal bills through the Senate in hopes of sending the repeal effort to a conference committee with the House-passed replacement bill, where a final deal can be hashed.

Read More →

Senate Republicans, as they headed into a lunch where they’d learn from GOP leadership how they would be proceeding in their Obamacare repeal efforts, were already spinning the emerging “skinny repeal” plan that may be the final bill they vote on as a success, after failing to settle on a replacement bill.

Progress is progress,” Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) told reporters before the lunch. He said would still prefer more substantial legislation to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, but that “eliminating the individual mandate would be a good thing.”

Seeking to claw their way out of a quagmire where neither the Obamacare replacement legislation the Senate has been working on nor a backup repeal-and-delay modeled on 2015 legislation would get enough votes to pass, Senate sources were floating the possibility that Republicans instead would vote on a so-called “skinny repeal,” a narrow set of repeal proposals on which Republicans mostly agree. Medicaid would go untouched under such a measure, so would the Affordable Care Act’s insurers regs, which conservatives were seeking to gut in order to lower premiums.

Read More →

If Senate Republicans pass their Frankenstein monster of an Obamacare replacement plan this week, it’s because Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) bent the dozen or so Republicans previously against it to his will, and not the other way around.

Few of the fundamentals of the repeal bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, have changed since McConnell delayed his initial plans for a vote last month. The major revisions Republicans did make, such as the preservation of some of the Affordable Care Act’s taxes, appeared to be optics-based, or even further alienated the senators wavering on the bill.

Read More →

As the Senate GOP efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act reaches its supposed apex this week, a remarkable amount remains unknown – even to Republican senators. But what is close to a given is that whatever happens, the effort will likely fail.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) last week indicated that he was sticking to his plans to hold a vote Tuesday to open the debate on a health care bill. But neither of the two repeal proposals he has floated — a repeal-and-delay bill and the Obamacare replacement legislation the GOP has been negotiating — has enough support to pass.

Read More →

LiveWire