Last Ditch Obamacare Repeal Bill Officially Dead After Collins Says No
Not only was the Republicans’ third attempt to repeal Obamacare not lucky, but as of moments ago, said attempt has died a total of three times, the first when John McCain said he would vote no last Friday, then yesterday when Ted Cruz also said he would not support the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal bill, and then the third and final time came late on Monday when Maine Senator Susan Collins confirmed she would oppose the latest GOP effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare, dooming the measure.
“Health care is a deeply personal, complex issue that affects every single one of us and one-sixth of the American economy. Sweeping reforms to our health care system and to Medicaid can’t be done well in a compressed time frame, especially when the actual bill is a moving target,” she said in a statement.
— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) September 25, 2017
Her announcement is hardly a surprise: as we said last week, Collins was widely viewed as a “no” vote but talked with Pence over the weekend and said Sunday she wanted to see the preliminary analysis from the Congressional Budget Office. “It’s very difficult for me to envision a scenario where I would end up voting for this bill,” she told CNN’s “State of the Union.” Well, just prior to Collins’ statement, the CBO projected that the last-ditch GOP ObamaCare repeal bill would result in “millions” of people losing coverage. The agency did not give a specific number given a lack of time to do the analysis before a vote, but said the “direction of the effect is clear.” That was enough to seal Collins’ “no” answer.
According to Bloomberg, Collins joins Republican Sens. Rand Paul and John McCain, who have already come out against bill, although technically on Sunday Ted Cruz said that “Right now, they don’t have my vote and I don’t think they have Mike Lee’s vote either,” which means that the third and final attempt to repeal Obamacare was not even down to the wire.
Collins’s announcement came as Graham, Cassidy and the White House engaged in a dash of last minute negotiations to try to keep their ObamaCare repeal push alive and win over holdouts, including Collins. “If there’s a billion more going to Maine … that’s a heck of a lot,” Cassidy told The Washington Post. “It’s not for Susan, it’s for the Mainers. But she cares so passionately about those Mainers, I’m hoping those extra dollars going to her state … would make a difference to her.”
According to The Hill, it isn’t immediately clear whether leadership will force a vote even though they are short of necessary support to pass a bill. “I’m in a fact-gathering mode,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the No. 2 Senate Republican, told reporters earlier Monday.
A spokesman for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said last week that it was his “intention” to bring up Graham-Cassidy but he didn’t mention a potential vote in his opening remarks on Monday. Rank-and-file members have also expressed skepticism that they would ultimately have a vote.
And now onto Trump’s tax reform, which despite Wall Street’s recent spike in enthusiasm will likely suffer the same fate as Obamacare repeal.