Senate Gears Up For Procedural Obamacare Repeal Vote, Despite Lack Of Details On Bill

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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The Senate is slated to take a procedural vote to repeal Obamacare next week, despite GOP lawmakers’ uncertainty on what the final legislation is going to look like.

While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing for the party to start the process, it is unclear whether the upper chamber will move forward on the revised version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) or a clean repeal, both of which appear to be short on the votes needed to pass the Senate.

“I don’t know whether we’re proceeding to the House bill, a new version of the Senate bill, the old version of the Senate bill, the 2015 repeal-and-hope-that-we-come-up-with something-in-two-years bill,”  Maine Sen. Susan Collins told reporters Thursday. “I truly don’t.”

Whether enough support exists to successfully pass the motion to proceed remains unclear, especially with the absence of Arizona Sen. John McCain, who remains in his home state due to his recent cancer diagnosis. McConnell can only afford to lose one GOP vote, as no Democrats are expected to vote in favor of repealing the ACA.

GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky — who has been an outspoken opponent of the  BCRA, arguing that it doesn’t do enough to repeal the Affordable Care Act — said he is willing to support the motion to proceed if leadership is willing to bring the clean repeal to the floor.

“If they want my vote, they have to at least agree that we’re going to at least have a vote on clean repeal,” he said Thursday, according to The Hill.

McConnell has struggled with getting members of his party to come to a consensus on replacement language, with conservatives calling for the bill to be pushed to the right and moderates voicing concerns over rolling back funds for Medicaid expansion. Multiple lawmakers in different factions of the Republican conference have expressed frustrations with the process in which the BCRA was constructed.

“It’s beginning to feel a lot like how Obamacare came together, if you want to know the truth. Where it felt like, you know, they were bidding with various people to get them on board but maybe there was a lack of coherence. And, obviously, I mean, we can see the result right now of what was being done,” Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker told reporters. “So look, again, I’m not being critical, just the process is beginning to make me really, really uncomfortable. I’m going to vote, though, to proceed to whatever vehicle is on the floor and if we want to have a debate on the floor, I’ll be an active part of that.”

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