GOP Senate leader charts plan for moving on new health bill
Republicans will introduce their reworked health care bill tomorrow and begin trying to muscle it through the Senate next week, the chamber's GOP leader said yesterday as the party tried healing divisions threatening to mortally wound the chances for one of its top goals.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, also said he would delay the chamber's August recess for two weeks, a rare move he said would give lawmakers time to break logjams on health care, defense and executive branch nominations. Growing numbers of Republicans, chagrined at Congress' failure to send any major bills to President Donald Trump, had called on McConnell to make that move.
"We'll be on health care next week," McConnell told reporters, even as the prospects for his divided party's drive to repeal much of President Barack Obama's health care law seemed gloomy as ever.
Earlier, long time Senator Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said he was "very pessimistic" that the health care measure will be approved. And one maverick Republican, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, warned leaders about retaliation by conservative voters should they react to a collapse of the measure by striking a deal with Democrats.
In the face of unanimous Democratic opposition, the health care bill will crash if just three of the 52 GOP senators oppose it. McConnell suddenly canceled a doomed vote last month on an initial version of the legislation, and at least a dozen Republicans have said they oppose the initial package or distanced themselves from it.