Democrats in both chambers of Congress are exhibiting their unity as the Republican health care bill vote, which was supposed to happen by Friday in the Senate, was pushed back until after the July 4 recess.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell delayed the vote on the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) until after recess due to a lack of agreement among Senate Republicans, giving Democrats momentum in their opposition.
“If our Republican colleagues stick to this base bill – which so hurts working families, which so benefits multimillionaires and them almost alone – we’re going to fight the bill tooth and nail,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said shortly after news broke that the vote would be delayed. “And we have a darn good chance of defeating it.”
“I think the resistance [to the health care bill] is going to continue,” said Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin. “I think the education of the American public really was a major part of that decision,” he added, suggesting that the Congressional Budget Office score of the bill worried many voters.
The message of solidarity extends to the House, as well.
“We’re really proud of the unity in our caucus on the subject of saving the Affordable Care Act, making it better and pushing back on this Republican bill,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in a press conference, flanked by other high-ranking Democrats who also expressed their disapproval of the Senate bill.
Minority Whip Steny Hoyer told reporters Tuesday morning that the Democrats are “a very united party” that is “focused on the health care issue for the American people.”
While Democrats are largely touting the delay of this vote as a win, many Republicans are still displaying optimism that they can get a quality bill passed.
“I think I have a pretty good sense of what needs to be done to resolve the issues … and I don’t think it’s that hard,” said Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker, “Giving people time to digest is a good thing.”
Corker also stated that it was “very wise” of McConnell to move the vote back.
“This is an acknowledgment that Republican senators really care about getting this right,” he said.
Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz also weighed in, stating that there are “common sense reforms” that he believes will be reflected in the final draft of the health care bill. “And when they are, I think we will have a bill that can pass,” Cruz said.
When asked if Republicans will lose their momentum by pushing this vote back, GOP South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott said no. “Until we get enough questions answered … then why vote when we can wait a little longer?” he said.
While Senate Republicans did not reach their initial goal of voting on the health care bill before July 4 recess, it is likely that they will bring it up before the August recess, which begins in both chambers on July 29.
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