Note: This is an update to my post: “GOP’s latest health bill looking more like a white flag on Obamacare repeal promise; McCain’s return won’t save McConnell’s maneuvers.”
On Monday night, Republican Senators Jerry Moran of Kansas and Mike Lee of Utah declared they would oppose the Senate Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, for now killing a seven-year-old promise to overturn President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement, according to The New York Times.
“There are serious problems with Obamacare, and my goal remains what it has been for a long time: to repeal and replace it,” Mr. Moran said in a statement. “This closed-door process unfortunately has yielded the” Senate repeal bill, which he asserted, “failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act or address health care’s rising costs.”
The two senators coordinated their statements Monday night to have maximum impact. Already two other Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine, a moderate, and Rand Paul of Kentucky, a conservative, had declared their opposition to the latest version of the Senate repeal bill, which was unveiled last week. That left Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, on a knife’s edge, unable to absorb a single other defection.
By joining together, Mr. Moran and Mr. Lee ensured no one would be the definitive “no” vote.
With four solid votes against the bill, Republican leaders were faced with two options: Try to go back and rewrite the bill in a way that could secure 50 Republican votes, a seeming impossibility at this point, or do as Mr. McConnell promised, and team with Democrats to draft a narrower, bipartisan measure to fix the flaws in the Affordable Care Act that both parties acknowledge.