Senate Republicans still don't know what health-care bill they will vote on this week

Senate Republicans have not let TrumpCare go
(Image credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will ask the Senate as early as Tuesday to begin debate on a bill to gut the Affordable Care Act, but not even Senate Republicans know what bill they will be asked to vote on. It isn't entirely clear they will know before voting to open debate, either. Some senators said that McConnell has assured them they would be told before voting on the "motion to proceed" whether they would be proceeding to a vote on one of the versions of a bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare or just to repeal much of the law. The No. 2 Senate Republican, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), said late last week that letting senators know what bill they would be voting on is "a luxury we don't have."

McConnell's current strategy "is to lean heavily on lawmakers to at least vote to allow debate on the bill, in the hopes that amendments and other tweaks could yield an agreement," The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. That strategy carries some risk, as do all the others. McConnell put together his version of the bill with no public hearings or deliberation in committee. On Friday, the Senate parliamentarian issued a preliminary ruling that some two dozen provisions in the GOP bill would require 60, not 50, votes, throwing a new wrinkle in McConnell's plans to pass the bill using the budget reconciliation process.

On Saturday, President Trump urged Senate Republicans to "step up to the plate" and "vote to repeal and replace" ObamaCare.

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When CBS News political director John Dickerson asked Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) what's going on with the legislation on Sunday's Face the Nation, she said that was a good question. "It appears that we will have a vote on Tuesday," she said. "But we don't know whether we're going to be voting on the House bill, the first version of the Senate bill, the second version of the Senate bill, a new version of the Senate bill, or a 2015 bill that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act now and then said that somehow we'll figure out a replacement over the next two years. I don't think that's a good approach to facing legislation that affects millions of people and one sixth of our economy." The part on health care begins at the 4-minute mark. Peter Weber

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at TheWeek.com, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.