The collapse of Senate Republicans’ Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C on health care has left the party adrift, with a bitter taste in their mouths and no clear path forward.
“Back to the drawing board,” quipped Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) after a long lunch meeting behind closed doors with the full Republican caucus.
Leadership is calling for a vote next week on a bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act with no replacement ready at hand. The move would give cover to conservative senators who want to go home and tell their constituents they did their best to keep seven years of promises to kill Obamacare, and to moderate senators who want to tell voters they voted to save their Medicaid and tax credits. But with three members staunchly opposed and a fourth in the hospital, the move is almost certain to fail.
“It’s hard,” Republican Whip John Cornyn (R-TX), whose job is it to muster the votes, laughed wearily Tuesday afternoon. When asked what will change between now and the vote, he ducked into an elevator and called out to reporters as the golden doors slid shut: “The passage of time.”
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