GOP senators blink on a big chance to repeal ‘Obamacare’

United States Capitol Building at sunset, District of Columbia, date not specifed | Photo by trekandshoot / iStock / Getty Images Plus, st. George News

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (AP) — After seven years of emphatic campaign promises, Senate Republicans demonstrated Wednesday they don’t have the stomach to repeal “Obamacare” when it really counts, as the Senate voted 55-45 to reject legislation undoing major portions of Barack Obama’s law without replacing it.

Seate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., joined from left by, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., speaks with reporters outside the chamber after Vice President Mike Pence broke a 50-50 tie to start debating Republican legislation to tear down much of the Obama health care law, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017. AP Photo by J. Scott Applewhite, St. George News

Seven Republicans joined all Democrats in rejecting an amendment by Rand Paul of Kentucky that would have repealed most of former President Obama’s health care law, with a two-year delay but no replacement. Congress passed nearly identical legislation in 2015 and sent it to Obama, who unsurprisingly vetoed it.

Both Utah Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee voted Wednesday in favor of the legislation.

“We campaigned on repealing Obamacare for seven years,” Sen Lee said Tuesday in advance of Wednesday’s Senate vote . “I hope my colleagues will honor their promise and vote with me for the 2015 repeal bill.”

Yet this time, with a president in the White House who says he’s itching to sign the bill, the measure failed on the Senate floor. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that repealing “Obamacare” without replacing it would cost more than 30 million Americans their insurance coverage, and that was a key factor in driving away a handful of Republican senators, more than Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could lose in the closely divided Senate.

The result frustrated other GOP senators, some of whom expressed disbelief that their colleagues would flip-flop on legislation they had voted for only two years ago and long promised to voters. Of the current Republican senators, only moderate Susan Collins of Maine opposed the 2015 repeal bill.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas talks to reporters outside his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 26. AP Photo by Carolyn Kaster, St. George News

“I think everybody in there, maybe except for one senator, promised their supporters, their voters that they supported repeal of Obamacare,” Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said. “A lot of them said ‘root and branch.’ Now, we’re so far away from that. I’d just remind my colleagues, remember what you promised your voters.”

Yet the outcome was no shock in a Senate that’s already shown that unity is elusive when it comes to dealing with Obamacare. The real-world implications of repeal have proven sobering to GOP senators answering to voters who’ve come to rely on expanded insurance coverage under the law.

What the party’s senators will end up agreeing on instead is far from clear. Yet they plunged forward with debate toward their unknown goal, pressured by an impatient president. By week’s end Republicans hope to reach agreement among themselves, and eventually with the House, on some kind of repeal and replacement of the Obama law they have reviled for so long.

One possibility taking shape in talks among senators was a “skinny repeal” that would abolish just a few of the key elements of Obama’s law including mandates that everyone purchase insurance and taxes that all GOP senators can agree to oppose.

Written by ERICA WERNER and ALAN FRAM, Associated Press

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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11 Comments

  • stg-anon July 26, 2017 at 5:04 pm

    In case anyone doesn’t understand how we got to this point, it’s because the GOP has been lying to their voters since the day the ACA was passed. They never had a plan to replace the ACA, and they never really wanted to replace the ACA. They’ve just been farming hatred of the ACA to produce votes to get themselves into power.

    This is what one Republican senator had to say about the situation:

    > Sen. Patrick J. Toomey offered a simple, remarkable explanation this week for why Republicans have struggled so mightily to find a way to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

    > “Look, I didn’t expect Donald Trump to win, I think most of my colleagues didn’t, so we didn’t expect to be in this situation,” the Pennsylvania Republican said Wednesday night during a meeting with voters hosted by four ABC affiliates across his state.

    And here’s what the Eric Cantor, the previous Republican Leader of the House said:

    > “To give the impression that if Republicans were in control of the House and Senate, that we could do that when Obama was still in office….” His voice trails off and he shakes his head. “I never believed it.”

    > He says he wasn’t the only one aware of the charade: “We sort of all got what was going on, that there was this disconnect in terms of communication, because no one wanted to take the time out in the general public to even think about ‘Wait a minute – that can’t happen.’ ” But, he adds, “if you’ve got that anger working for you, you’re gonna let it be.”

    It was always a bluff. It was always a lie. It was always purely politics, and they never thought they’d ever have to follow through on the BS they were selling.

    • comments July 26, 2017 at 6:00 pm

      When does the GOP not fail to govern? I know you R-party voters have a goldfish length memory when it comes to the last republican administration, but let me remind you that they did actually collapse the entire economic system. Then they bailed it out with trillions of dollars of US taxpayer money. Ring any bells? Or does 9 years into the past just flat-out exceed your grasp? wasn’t that long ago.

    • PogoStik July 26, 2017 at 6:29 pm

      Very well expressed. Thank you for writing that.

  • Caveat_Emptor July 26, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Obamacare has numerous flaws that jeopardize its sustainability. We have had several years of experience with the legislation, and based on popular opinion, a majority of Americans favor the principles of providing subsidized health insurance to a wider audience. We have several Republican states that have expanded Medicaid to a wider audience.
    The self-preservation instinct kicked in for several Republican Senators, in addition to Susan Collins who has not been a supporter of repeal, ever. Thanks to the Republican voters in these few Senate districts expressing their opinions about the repeal/replace proposals, the Senators had the constituent support to vote against the bill(s).
    John McCain’s impassioned plea to utilize the “normal” legislative processes to arrive at a bi-partisan repair was encouraging, but my guess is that fell on deaf ears.
    Can we call these prior proposals what they were: tax reductions for very wealthy tax payers….

    • PogoStik July 26, 2017 at 6:47 pm

      Also very well stated. I worked in product development for 40 years. I don’t ever remember throwing a product out and starting all over. “Kaisen” or continuous improvement almost always occurred. That’s why major automobile design changes occur about every 5 years–four years of continouosly improving the design. So why would anyone think that repealing ACA and replacing it with a quickly thrown together plan made by 12 old white men in a closet would be better?

      Wall Street reports that the health insurance industries have been reporting good profits, so ACA is not really failing as some claim. So why not get to work on improving the weak points of ACA, and building on its good points? I think we are all seeing that the “repeal and replace” is not about health care, but rather a disguised tax cut for the wealthy with the words “health care” thrown in somewhere.

  • Caveat_Emptor July 26, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    Obamacare has numerous flaws that jeopardize its sustainability. We have had several years of experience with the legislation, and based on popular opinion, a majority of Americans favor the principles of providing subsidized health insurance to a wider audience. We have several Republican states that have expanded Medicaid to a wider audience.
    The self-preservation instinct kicked in for several Republican Senators, in addition to Susan Collins who has not been a supporter of repeal, ever. Thanks to the Republican voters in these few Senate districts expressing their opinions about the repeal/replace proposals, the Senators had the constituent support to vote against the bill(s).
    John McCain’s impassioned plea to utilize the “normal” legislative processes to arrive at a bi-partisan repair was encouraging, but my guess is that fell on deaf ears.

  • Not_So_Much July 26, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    V-O-T-E T-H-E-M O-U-T

  • Proud Rebel July 27, 2017 at 10:47 am

    Good, bad or indifferent, Obamacare has done some good. Hard to say, for a lifelong Republican, but there it is. Of course the Republicans used it as a power point in the campaign.
    So now, “we” are in power. And “we” are wanting to throw 30 million people to the wolves, by repealing it, and replacing it with……nothing.
    Hatch and Lee. Now these two may be perfectly fine people, as individuals. But as people elected to represent us, they are no better or worse than the rest of the scoundrels in Washington. Hatch should have retired already. I honestly don’t know as much as I should about Lee, but I sure don’t like his position on this.
    Let’s face it, Republican, Democrat, it makes no difference. They are all out for themselves, at the expense of the American people.

    • Bender July 27, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      Lee’s a simpering toad. Take my word for it.

      • comments July 27, 2017 at 8:06 pm

        I looked up the word simpering.

        “sim·per: smile or gesture in an affectedly coquettish, coy, or ingratiating manner.”

        Then I looked up the word coquettish and got a mental image of mike lee.

        Too funny

  • Kilroywashere July 27, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    Skinny repeal is garbage. WHERE’S THE PLAN. 8 years to come up with something. Oh that’s right repeal the medical device tax, It sure helps us ! Senator Lee is pathetic, let’s see him in skinny jeans. What’s next , the anorexic repeal. Nothing here but smoke and mirrors. Just let the Senate go home and have a vacation. It’s over. That way we don’t have to watch them on news shows telling us they’re working so hard on our behalf. But damn, Let’s get that medical device tax repealed! Corporate donors come first, never forget that. Give up, these people couldn’t mow your front lawn.

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