Update: "Skinny Bill" Fails in Senate Vote
In a session that extended into early this morning, the so-called "Skinny Bill" failed to pass by a 49-51 vote. Three Republican Senators voted no: John McCain of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. While the Skinny Bill had been discussed for several days, the text of the eight-page bill was not released until Thursday night. In addition to repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual and employer mandates, as well as the medical device tax, the Skinny Bill also included language aimed at defunding Planned Parenthood for one year. Senator McCain, just three days ago, supported a procedural vote to move forward with the last few days of votes on various healthcare and ACA repeal bills. In explaining his vote, McCain tweeted at 2:35 am this morning: "Skinny repeal fell short because it fell short of our promise to repeal & replace Obamacare w/ meaningful reform."
This likely ends the effort to repeal the ACA for at least this year. Both President Donald Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell have indicated they want to move forward with other priorities, including a tax reform/tax cut bill.
Senator McCain, in a floor speech on Tuesday, offered a vision for the kind of process needed to pass a viable healthcare bill, if and when Congress returns to healthcare/ACA reform: "Let the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee under Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray hold hearings, try to report a bill out of committee with contributions from both sides. Then bring it to the floor for amendment and debate, and see if we can pass something that will be imperfect, full of compromises, and not very pleasing to implacable partisans on either side, but that might provide workable solutions to problems Americans are struggling with today.
"What have we to lose by trying to work together to find those solutions? We’re not getting much done apart. I don’t think any of us feels very proud of our incapacity. Merely preventing your political opponents from doing what they want isn’t the most inspiring work. There’s greater satisfaction in respecting our differences, but not letting them prevent agreements that don’t require abandonment of core principles, agreements made in good faith that help improve lives and protect the American people."
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