McConnell abandons Obamacare replacement, will seek straight repeal – Orange County Register

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell abandoned efforts to pass a broad Republican-only replacement of Obamacare, saying late Monday he will instead seek a vote on a simple repeal — delayed by two years to give lawmakers time to seek a replacement.

A repeal without a replacement is almost certain to fail. The failure to deliver on seven years of GOP promises to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would be the biggest failure for President Donald Trump and Republicans since their election victory.

McConnell’s move came after two more Republican senators announced their opposition to MConnell’s plan, drafted largely in secret. The defections by Mike Lee and Jerry Moran, in addition to previous opposition by GOP Senators Rand Paul and Susan Collins, were enough to sink the majority leader’s plan.

Lee and Moran said in statements they won’t support the Republican measure because it doesn’t go far enough to address the rising cost of health care.

“We should not put our stamp of approval on bad policy,” Moran of Kansas said in a statement on Twitter. He criticized the way the health-care bill was written through a ’closed-door process’ and said the Senate must ’start fresh’ with open hearings and debate.

Lee of Utah said the current version doesn’t repeal Obamacare taxes and regulations or lower premiums.

The defection of the two Tea Party-backed senators is a stunning blow to McConnell and President Donald Trump, who campaigned on a promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which he called a disaster.

“Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on a new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

That won’t be easy. While Congress last year passed a repeal bill, they did so knowing it would be vetoed by President Barack Obama. This year, now that it could become law, such a proposal has drawn little support among Republican senators, with the exception of those in its most conservative wing.

While some other Republicans may follow if that’s their only choice, the legislation is all but certain to fail in a chamber Republicans govern with a narrow 52-seat majority.

Such a defeat may be intentional by a Republican leadership team that has expressed a desire to begin moving on to other matters, including an overhaul of the tax code, a boost in the nation’s debt ceiling and next year’s spending bills.

No clear path

On the health bill, McConnell…

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