Republicans scrap health bill: ‘We don’t have the votes’

Republican leaders won’t hold a vote this week on their Obamacare replacement plan, the Graham-Cassidy bill, after three members of the Senate said they wouldn’t approve the measure.

The Graham-Cassidy bill was the Republicans’ latest bid to honor a years-long promise to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, the signature legislation of the Obama administration, and their latest defeat on the issue.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of the sponsors of the legislation, vowed to return to health care after tax reform and said it was not a matter of “if” but “when” health reform is achieved.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said that the Senate would turn to tax reform.

In a statement, the bill’s four authors — Graham, Bill Cassidy, R-La., Dean Heller R-Nev., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis. — said the bill’s failure came down to “circumstances under our control and not under our control, the process and timing of this vote did not line up this time.”

“We will push on,” they wrote.

“The most frequent frustration we heard from our colleagues ranging from Sen. McCain to Sen. Murkowski was that time and process were the biggest obstacles to their support. There is no doubt about their commitment to repeal and replace Obamacare and no doubt about their support of local control,” they continued.

“It is just a matter of time until we fulfill our promise to repeal and replace Obamacare with something far better. For the American people, when it comes to Obamacare, the worst is yet to come. That is why we believe Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson is needed and will eventually pass.”

Under current budget reconciliation rules, Senate Republicans could not reach a simple majority of 51 votes to pass Graham-Cassidy before Sept. 30.

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