Now we find out the Senate won’t even vote on the House bill to repeal Obama-Care.
That’s going to go really swell.
Senate GOP leaders have been working on their own health insurance fix that includes some of the House bill’s key measures but doesn’t use it as a starting point.
An aide to a senior Republican House leader said Thursday after the 217-213 tally that Speaker Paul Ryan is ‘hopeful, but not naive’ about the possibility of the Senate adapting his chamber’s legislation instead of starting from scratch.
‘Would we like that? Sure,’ the aide told DailyMail.com. ‘But they’ve got their own game in the Senate and we can’t tell them what to do.’
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters in the White House Rose Garden following an afternoon victory-lap ceremony that he wants senators to pick up the ball and run with it.
‘Let’s be optimistic. We’re Americans,’ McCarthy said. ‘We just passed the biggest hurdle there. It’s now sitting in the Senate.’
‘They are a legislative body. They have the ability to move,’ he said.
McCarthy also noted that since the Obamacare repeal-and-replace strategy is being conducted as part of a ‘reconciliation’ procedure – a scheme to reorganize parts of the federal budget during a fiscal year without creating new policy – Senate Republicans can pass it with a simple 51-vote majority.
‘This isn’t a 60-vote bill,’ he explained. Republicans hold 52 Senate seats.
But those 52 Republicans on the north end of the U.S. Capitol have their own ideas about how best to wind down the Affordable Care Act, a seven-year-old statute that made ‘Obamacare’ the law of the land.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a congratulatory statement on Thursday afternoon but said nothing about being in a hurry to act on the House’s bill.
He did say that nothing would be scheduled until ‘the completion of procedural and budgetary scorekeeping reviews’ – a step the House Republicans skipped in their hurry to spike the football.
And South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford, a Republican who cast a ‘yea’ vote for the legislation on Thursday, conceded that the entire exercise is little more than ‘a vote to continue the conversation about where we go next on healthcare.’
‘The Senate may or may not act on all or parts of the bill, and if they do, it will come back to the House for yet another vote,’ Sanford said.
That prospect, too, seems far off.
The Washington Examiner reported Thursday that a 12-member working group drawn from three Senate committees with jurisdiction over health insurance laws has already been meeting for several weeks to plot a path forward.
‘We are going to draft a Senate bill,’ Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said. ‘That is what I’ve been told.’
Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said there’s ‘really no deadline’ for a bill to emerge from the meetings.
‘We are just working toward getting 51 votes,’ he said.