Don’t Miss What’s Happening In The Senate

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, July 17, 2017. The Senate has been forced to put the republican's health care bill on hold for as much as two weeks until Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., can return from surgery. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Andrew Harnik/AP
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Senate Republicans still don’t know which Obamacare repeal bill they’ll be voting on this week, or when. The votes don’t seem to be there for either of the two main options under consideration: “repeal and delay” or “repeal and replace.” And yet … they’re not dead either. Both options strip health insurance coverage from tens of millions, but the Senate GOP is trundling along as if it’s no big deal that they don’t know what they’re going to vote on.

Mitch McConnell seems to be calculating that if he can get a majority to vote as soon as tomorrow on a motion to proceed, which would kick off debate on a bill, he can pressure his conference with a combination of amendments, side deals and strong arming to get some bill – ANY bill – passed. All in all, it’s probably not a bad strategy. He hasn’t been able to make that work before now, but it may be the only viable strategy left. It worked for Paul Ryan in the House.

Things are so far gone now that senators are openly speculating whether Sen. John McCain’s surgical incision is sufficiently healed to withstand the pressurized cabin of a jetliner for the flight from Arizona to DC to cast a decisive vote, if needed. No one quite knows what bill he’d be casting a vote on.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.

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