President Trump said it had to happen—but it isn't going to happen. The Republican plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare collapsed Monday night after two more GOP senators announced their opposition, leaving Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell without enough votes to move the legislation forward, and leaving the party with no clear path toward what it has been trying to achieve for seven years. A roundup of coverage:
- Sens. Mike Lee and Jerry Moran sealed the bill's fate by declaring their opposition, joining Sens. Rand Paul and Susan Collins. Aides tell CNN that the two men, who opposed the legislation for different reasons, decided to announce their opposition together so that neither would be seen as the deciding third Republican vote against the plan.
- While Lee and Moran were working on their statement, Trump was dining on steak, succotash, and "farm stand peach cobbler" at the White House with eight other senators while discussing health care reform. An insider tells Politico that Trump "made an impassioned pitch on why Republicans needed to do it now." "He basically said, if we don't do this, we're in trouble," the source says. "That we have the Senate, House, and White House and we have to do it or we're going to look terrible."
- According to the New York Times, the bill failed because the GOP has failed to learn this lesson: "An American entitlement, once established, can almost never be retracted." Conservative senators demanding full repeal of ObamaCare were unable to reach a deal with senators whose states accepted, and now rely on, ObamaCare's expansion of Medicaid.
- McConnell now plans to hold a fresh vote on repeal legislation passed by the House and Senate in 2015, which gives Congress two years to come up with a replacement for ObamaCare. But that strategy was abandoned by the GOP earlier this year because of concerns about chaos in the marketplace, and it may be a struggle to pass repeal-only legislation now, the AP reports. Trump tweeted in support of repeal after McConnell said it had become clear that the replacement bill wouldn't succeed.
- The Washington Post reports that in what appears to be a fifth nail in the legislation's coffin, Sen. John McCain issued a statement late Monday urging fellow lawmakers to not "repeat the original mistakes that led to ObamaCare's failure," including crafting the legislation on a "strict party-line basis." He called for Congress to "return to regular order, hold hearings, receive input from members of both parties, and heed the recommendations of our nation's governors."
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