Republicans in the Senate are coming up on their deadline to hold a vote on a healthcare reform proposal by the end of June, according to Politico.
When Republicans return to work Monday, they will have two weeks before the Fourth of July recess to settle on the biggest issues that have stirred disagreement about the reforms: what year to roll back the expansion of Medicaid, and how much to cut that program, which covers care for those with low income.
Also at issue is the cost of health insurance premiums, when to cut the taxes that paid for Obamacare, and whether or not to defund Planned Parenthood. The Republicans have to be able to get 50 out of the 52 Republican votes in the Senate to pass any healthcare reform bill, and getting three of the most conservative members — Rand Paul, R-Ky., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Ted Cruz, R-Texas — will be a challenge, Politico reported.
Republicans ran in the 2016 elections on a promise to repeal Obamacare on "day one," but getting to where they are has taken months. The deadline was self-imposed, but meant to prioritize the vote so Republicans could move to other priorities.
"Putting it off is not going to make it any easier. A deadline is helpful because it tends to make people focus," said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, according to Politico.
Politico's report said that meeting the deadline seems unlikely, since resolving the disputes is not the only job remaining. Republicans must write the rest of the bill, send the text to the Congressional Budget Office, await the CBO score, and ensure that 50 Republicans stay onboard during the legislation's procedural votes.
"You know, I thought that was a stretch anyway," Sen. Shelly Moore Capito, R-W. Va., said about the deadline.
The House of Representatives also is under pressure to approve the Senate bill instead of holding a conference to iron out differences between House and Senate. "If we can move a bill through the Senate that demonstrates we can get 50 Republicans to vote for something … maybe the House will take up our bill and act on it. That's probably the best-case scenario," Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said.
Some legislators are saying they don't want to rush the bill. "I really don't want to see us vote before the July 4 break. I think it'd be too soon," Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said, according to CNN.
"I am pleased with the progress. I don't have a July 4 deadline," Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., said.
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