Tuesday, 22 August, 2017

Facing defections, Senate GOP leaders delay health care vote

Francis Olson | 28 June, 2017, 07:27

"I would not bet against Mitch McConnell", House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters Tuesday morning when asked about the bill's fate - but before news broke of McConnell's announcement that he was pushing the vote back.

Mike Lee will vote against the motion to proceed on the health care bill as it is now written, an aide told CNN, adding that Lee is "still negotiating with leadership to make changes as we have been since Saturday".

Trump said that at least 50 of the Senate's 52 Republicans were at the meeting.

"This will be great if we get it done and if we don't get it done it's going to be something that we're not going to like and that's OK and I can understand that", Trump said.

Minutes earlier, McConnell divulged the decision to GOP senators at a private lunch also attended by Vice President Mike Pence and White House chief of staff Reince Priebus.

"We're getting very close", Trump told reporters before the start of a meeting at the White House with senators.

McConnell had hoped to push the measure through his chamber before an Independence Day recess that party leaders fear will be used by foes of the legislation to tear away support.

Two sources told CNN on Tuesday that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who originally wanted a vote this week, relented so GOP leaders can make changes to the bill and get a new score from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

North Korea denies torturing USA detainee Otto Warmbier
As for North Korea itself? He had been accused of stealing a propaganda poster and was serving a sentence of hard labor. Warmbier's death has caused furor among the American political establishment, including with US President Donald Trump.

That's the word Tuesday as the GOP faced five defections from its ranks just hours after the Congressional Budget Office said the bill would force 22 million off insurance rolls. Two other conservatives - Texas' Ted Cruz and Utah's Mike Lee - have also said they'd vote no without revisions, and several other moderates have expressed worries about the bill's Medicaid cuts and reductions in people with coverage.

Democrats said they're planning to keep up the fight against the Republican legislation.

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. meets with reporters following a GOP strategy session, Tuesday, June 27, 2017, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Senate leaders could use some of those additional savings to attract moderate votes by making Medicaid and other provisions more generous, though conservatives would rather use that money to reduce red ink.

Minutes after the report's release, three GOP senators threatened to oppose a procedural vote to begin debate expected Wednesday - enough to derail the legislation.

"As drafted, the Senate healthcare bill is not the right fix for West Virginia, and I can not support it", she added. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin also said they would not back a motion to proceed this week for the bill as written. Sen. Dean Heller to continue to oppose the current GOP health care bill.

The 22 million extra uninsured Americans were just 1 million fewer than the number the budget office estimated would become uninsured under the House version. Trump has called the House bill "mean" and prodded senators to produce a package with more "heart".

"Trumpcare will shift billions of dollars in costs for substance use services onto the states and the families that suffer from this disease", said U.S. Senator Ed Markey, (D) MA.

Outside the Capitol, groups gathered to protest the Senate GOP health care bill that included deep cuts to Medicaid, defunded Planned Parenthood and offered tax credits to purchase coverage plans. He says the Senate bill doesn't improve health care to Nevadans, but does give wealthy individuals "a tax break at the expense of access to affordable, quality care for Nevada working families".

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