Speed Reads


Senate Republicans want to vote on a health-care bill this month, maybe regardless of outcome

Senate Republicans want to vote on health-care legislation before the July 4 break, but they have some obstacles to overcome. The first is they don't have a bill. On Tuesday, the Senate GOP caucus will meet to discuss the early draft being written by a working group of 13 senators, and test the waters for how to finish legislation that can get the support of 50 Senate Republicans. The second problem is time: To get a vote by June 30, the start of the July 4 break, Politico notes, the Senate has about 10 working days to finalize the bill and submit it to the Congressional Budget Office for scoring.

The House has not sent its version of the American Health Care Act to the Senate yet, because the Senate parliamentarian is still determining if the House bill meets the strict requirements to allow Senate Republicans to pass their version with a simple majority. Democrats are arguing that it doesn't, in part because of a provision that could affect Native Americans, and if the parliamentarian agrees with them, the House would need to amend the AHCA and vote on it again. The ruling could come this week. That's the third problem, and the fourth is that it isn't clear Senate Republicans can agree on a plan that would get 50 votes.

On Monday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he doesn't think Republicans will pass major health-care legislation this year. "I just don't think we can put it together among ourselves," he told Bloomberg News. "I don't think this gets better over time," Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told Politico. "So my personal view is we've got until now and the Fourth of July to decide if the votes are there or not. And I hope they are." With health care mucking up an already busy legislative agenda, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) just "wants to be done with this one way or another," a person familiar with the negotiations tells Politico, even if that means bringing up for a vote a bill that fails.