Speed Reads

too close to call

The Senate health bill is just 1 GOP defection shy of defeat

Republicans control the Senate 52-48, which gives Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) a narrow margin for passing the GOP health-care bill, expected to be subject to a vote this coming week. Already, two GOP senators, Maine's Susan Collins and Kentucky's Rand Paul, have announced they plan to vote no, leaving McConnell just one defection shy of defeat.

At least four other Republican senators are on the fence: moderates Rob Portman (Ohio), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and Dean Heller (Nev.), as well as Utah conservative Mike Lee, who is reportedly skeptical of an amendment added to the bill by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). "They made a pitch for the amendment and Sen. Lee was not convinced," a Lee staffer told The Washington Examiner.

Vice President Mike Pence could cast a tie-breaking vote were the Senate split 50-50. Such votes are rare: Just 22 have been cast since former President Reagan took office, and former Vice President Joe Biden, Pence's immediate predecessor, never cast any. Pence, however, has shown himself willing to cast tie-breakers; he has already done so three times since taking office.