McConnell's push for a vote on health care

07/25/2017 11:24 AM

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is setting up the Senate to vote Tuesday to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

President Donald Trump is helping put pressure on the Republicans in the upper chamber. In a White House speech, the President said the GOP hasn’t done its job.

Flanked by Americans who Trump said have been hurt by the ACA, he amped up the pressure on senators to take a vote.

“The first rule of health care is do no harm,” the President said. “But Obamacare’s lies have caused this, and throughout the whole country families like this, nothing but pain.”

So what do you need to know about today’s vote? We answer some key questions below, noting key developments and highlights to watch.

What are senators voting on today?
Today’s vote is a vote on the motion to proceed to debate and add amendments on the bill passed by the House, the American Health Care Act. It is not a vote for final passage.

How many votes are needed to proceed to debate?
GOP leadership needs 50 of the 52 Republican Senators to support the motion in order to start debate on the bill, and McConnell could be getting a crucial yes vote with U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, returning to D.C.

Why is McCain’s return important?
On July 13 McCain released a statement that the revised Senate health bill did not include the measures that he had been advocating for. However, he has said he would support moving forward on debate.

Who is a firm no?
CNN is reporting that U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, will not be voting to proceed.

Who else might vote no?
Kentucky’s junior U.S. Sen. Rand Paul could be another no vote. According to Time Magazine Paul has said he will vote no unless GOP leadership agrees to an early vote to just repeal the ACA.

So what happens next?
Republican Senators will meet for their weekly lunch this afternoon. During that meeting leadership will try and rally the troops to get the votes needed.

Following the meeting the Senate will take the procedural vote.

If the motion to proceed passes?
If the procedural vote passes debate will begin, and amendments can be proposed.

McConnell can offer a substitute to the House bill. Senators would then be forced to consider that substitution.

After 20 hours of debate votes on the amendments that were proposed will be taken. All of those votes will lead up to the final vote on the repeal legislation.

If the motion to proceed fails?
McConnell can hit pause, and keep working to unite his party around a bill. If he can get 50 Republicans on board with a new bill McConnell can then move forward with another vote on a motion to proceed.

McConnell could decide to move on from health care and start working on other legislation.

Lastly, if the motion to proceed fails then McConnell could reach across the aisle and work with Democrats to fix the ACA.

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