Before this week began, Mitch McConnell's former chief of staff likened the Senate majority leader's task of getting the GOP's health care bill passed to "a 747 landing on a suburban driveway." It looks like Monday's CBO report just made the runway even smaller. Both Politico and the New York Times report that McConnell now may not even be able to bring the bill up for debate, let alone pass it. At least four GOP senators have signaled they will oppose a procedural vote on the measure that was scheduled to take place as early as Tuesday, with moderate Sen. Susan Collins of Maine joining Rand Paul, Dean Heller, and Ron Johnson on Monday evening. McConnell can afford only two defections.
"CBO says 22 million people lose insurance," tweeted Collins in explaining her opposition. "Medicaid cuts hurt most vulnerable Americans; access to healthcare in rural areas threatened." All of which makes McConnell's goal of getting the bill passed by the end of week even more of an uphill struggle. He could simply delay the process until after the July 4 recess, but the Hill explains that would be a "brutal blow" to the bill's chances, given the pressure senators will surely be under from opponents during the holiday break. Still, McConnell is viewed as a behind-the-scenes master on procedural matters. (Read more ObamaCare stories.)