Repeal is now overhaul. September 30th is the deadline.
Senators on Tuesday left town for the rest of the week with no plan on when to bring up a bill Republicans deemed the last shot to overhaul Obamacare.
Republican leaders are trying to pin down if they have enough votes to pass an Obamacare overhaul bill, but lawmakers recessed for the rest of the week and are expected to return Monday. The GOP is under a major time crunch because it has to pass the legislation before midnight Sept. 30, when a tool that would allow the bill to be approved with a simple majority instead of the 60 usually needed to break a filibuster expires.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has repeatedly told the four Republican senators pursuing the bill that he will bring it up only if it has 50 votes. Vice President Mike Pence can break a 50-50 tie.
Some senators want McConnell to bring the bill up for a vote even if it doesn’t have 50 yes votes. The bill would give Obamacare funding to states in the form of block grants and would eliminate the individual and employer mandates.
“The way we lose as a party is not to try,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., one of the bill’s co-sponsors. “The only way we lose and people hate our guts right now thinking we aren’t putting our full shoulder into repealing and replacing Obamacare.”
However, there is another wrinkle for Republicans as they scramble for votes: the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, which is Sept. 30.
Graham pointed out that the Senate passed Obamacare in 2009 on Christmas Eve, which is a pretty big deal. However, he would understand if the Senate has to break to ensure lawmakers don’t work on the Jewish holiday.