WASHINGTON ― There were just a couple of small details Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) couldn’t provide Tuesday about the Republican proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act ― how to pay for it and how he can pass it.
At least a half-dozen GOP senators have expressed doubts about the plan, and some Republican lawmakers and activists across the spectrum are already outright opposing the bill.
The Senate usually requires 60 votes in order to pass a bill. To pass a replacement for Obamacare, the GOP would have to attract eight Democrats to join all of their Republicans. The first step in the process, however ― which includes the bill Republicans released Monday night ― will move by an expedited budgetary procedure known as reconciliation, which requires a only a simple majority. (The GOP bill is only supposed to address parts of the health care plan that affect the budget. Policy changes are supposed to be dealt with through the regular legislative process.)
Asked how McConnell could satisfy his own members to try and move the legislation across the floor, the Senate leader instead chose to focus on just one complaint of some senators ― that the GOP bill doesn’t protect people who have health insurance, thanks to Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid.
McConnell said the GOP approach had buy-in from some Republican governors.
“We’re optimistic this is the best way to go,” McConnell said.
Similarly, when reporters asked about how the bill would be paid for if the Affordable Care Act funding was removed and some other taxes were not raised, McConnell demurred.
“Well, It just got launched yesterday,” he said, never answering the question.
“We’re going to have plenty of time to look at it,” McConnell said. “We’ll be looking at all aspects of it.”
He continued in that vein.
“We’ll looking at the whole proposal as it moves through regular order in the House. We’ll have ample time to answer all the questions,” McConnell said.