Senate GOP leaders decide not to hold vote on last-ditch Obamacare repeal

Senate GOP leaders decide not to hold vote on last-ditch Obamacare repeal

"We made the decision that since we don't have the votes, we won't hold the vote".

"We haven't given up on changing the American health care system", McConnell said.

They are set to unveil a "framework" for their legislation Wednesday, and McConnell said the Senate Budget Committee will mark up its resolution on taxes next week.

The four senators had been rushing to round up sufficient support by Saturday, the last day to pass their legislation under "reconciliation" procedure requiring a simple majority approval.

Republican leaders had reason to fear looking weak by pulling the plug on the endeavor, but they had more to fear by hosting another failed health care vote.

The political calculation leading up to Tuesday was agonizing for McConnell.

Murkowski said Senators Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Bill Cassidy, R-La., dug into the Alaska particulars and learned how expensive it is to deliver health care in the state.

Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the committee's ranking Democrat, said she too was ready to resume bipartisan negotiations, but blamed Republicans intent on destroying Obamacare for wasting time as premiums creep up and markets unravel.

Senator John McCain, R-Arizona, another opponent of the bill, had objected to the rushed process of the bill's attempted passage and called for a return to regular order with thorough hearings and bipartisan input.

"I would have voted for the Graham-Cassidy proposal because it meant more money and more state decision-making for Tennessee, and would have helped control the federal debt".

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Following yet another blow to Republican aspirations, the chamber's ranking Democrat, Chuck Schumer, urged his colleagues to rally together to work on fixing problems in the Affordable Care Act. Republicans hold 52 seats in the Senate.

"The issue's not going away", Thune told Politico.

Graham, however, brushed off the suggestion that Trump might once again catch Republicans off-guard by striking a deal with Democrats.

Combining Obamacare repeal and tax reform on one reconciliation bill is technically possible, but it would make the effort for both tax cuts and Obamacare repeal more hard.

Will Republicans really move on?

Rather than endure another embarrassing vote that sees his caucus come up short, the senators agreed in a closed-door meeting to shelve the bill.

"Where we go from here is tax reform, " McConnell said.

With two Republicans and one independent on stage with her, Klobuchar looked around and said "the answer is right in front of us", with the four agreeing on several issues.

On Capitol Hill, there were rumblings among lawmakers about ways to keep trying on repeal if this week ends with defeat. But senators pledged to continue efforts to end the program, which guarantees access to health care for most citizens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), a co-sponsor of the bill. The emerging framework would satisfy neither Republicans calling for drastic reductions in government spending and regulation nor Democrats seeking a public-option health-care plan.