Republicans have had one thing on their mind for seven years: repealing Obamacare. They returned from the holiday hell-bent on passing legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but their efforts may be dead in the water already.
Senate Republicans, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, are desperately trying to repeal the ACA before a replacement plan is ready. To pass a repeal and delay, the GOP only needs a simple majority, something they thought they had in the bag. However, their hopes and dreams may have just crashed and burned.
At least three Republicans look like they may not be willing to back a repeal bill without a replacement plan. For a majority vote, the GOP needs a minimum of 50 senators to sign on, but losing three votes would knock them down to 49 — not enough to pass the legislation.
Rand Paul is refusing to vote for repealing Obamacare without a replacement plan. Republicans also need Donald Trump to sign off on any repeal efforts, and Paul says the president-elect has pledged not to back repeal efforts without a viable plan to replace the ACA.
Of course, Trump himself has not exactly said that this is his position. Even if he did agree to this, he is likely to change his mind at any given moment so his word should be taken with a grain of salt, to say the least.
But Paul is not alone. Fellow Republican Lamar Alexander is taking the same position when it comes to giving the ax to a program that provides health insurance to millions without another plan is to take its place.
“We have to take each part of it and consider what it would take to create a new and better alternative and then begin to create that alternative and once it’s available to the American people, then we can finally repeal Obamacare,” said the Tennessee senator.
Sen. Tom Cotton, from Arkansas, is siding with Paul and Alexander as well. “It would not be the right path for us to repeal Obamacare without laying out a path forward,” he told MSNBC.
Sen. Bob Corker seems to be right on the edge of the line and is asking Trump to make his position on the matter clear. Via Twitter, naturally.
“If it is his view, it would be really good if he would consider tweeting it out very clearly. There’s more and more concerns about not doing it simultaneously,” Corker says.
If that wasn’t bad enough news for the GOP and their hopes of nixing Obamacare, it gets even worse for them. Four additional Republican senators have signed a bill sponsored by Corker that would delay the repeal bill for more than a month.
Five GOP senators offer an amendment to extend the Obamacare repeal reconciliation deadline by more than a MONTH. pic.twitter.com/8MPlAy50mR
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) January 9, 2017
Portman, Collins, Cassidy and Murkowski haven’t come right out and said that they intend to vote against the repeal and delay efforts, but the fact that they signed Corker’s bill makes it crystal clear that they have some serious concerns.
This is bad news for Republicans who thought they were finally going to be able to kill Obamacare. If they have to come up with a replacement plan before repealing the ACA they will likely be waiting for a very long time. Opponents of the health care law have had seven years to come up with a replacement and to this day they have failed. They are no closer to replacing Obamacare than they have ever been. Repeal and delay was their only hope. And that hope may have just died.
Featured image via Alex Wong/Getty Images