Republicans have just a week to capitalize on the momentum of their redrafted health-care bill before a week-long recess could halt their drive, Politico reports. Some Republicans and White House officials have even pressured Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to cancel next week's recess until all the votes are in line as the push for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act becomes increasingly do-or-die:
House GOP leaders say publicly that they have until around the end of May to pass a health-care reform bill. The reason has to do with arcane but critical parliamentary rules and the sequencing of big-ticket GOP agenda items.
The short version is this: Republicans need a new budget in order to pass a tax cut or tax reform package. But once they pass a new spending blueprint, they lose their authority provided by the current budget to approve health-care reform using the majority-vote tool called reconciliation. That means it would take 60 votes in the Senate, rather than 51, to pass a bill — an impossible hurdle given Democratic opposition.
In other words, it looks like now or never. [Politico]
"Stay tuned — watch next week — and you will see the repeal and replace of ObamaCare," House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Saturday.
"This is it," an administration official added. "We get it done now, or we don't get it done ever."