Senate postpones health care vote until after July 4 recess

The Senate will wait until after the July 4 recess to vote on its draft bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday.

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“It’s an ongoing discussion and members ... several of them want more time,” McConnell said. “We have a number of different discussions going on … this is a big, complicated subject.”

The delay comes after at least five Republican senators have publicly opposed the bill since its introduction last week, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), leading many to believe McConnell needed more time to shore up support.

Sen. Paul, who criticized the bill for continuing ObamaCare subsidies, tweeted Tuesday that he met with President Trump regarding health care, and found the president was flexible when it came to making amendments.

McConnell confirmed Tuesday that President Trump has been “very involved” in speaking with individual members about their health care concerns. In fact, the president called a last minute meeting with GOP senators at the White House Tuesday to discuss the health care effort, a pivotal part of the administration’s agenda.

Of the 52 GOP senators in the chamber, the Republican Party can only afford to lose the support of two for the bill to pass, assuming it receives no backing from Democrats.

On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office released its analysis of the Senate’s draft bill, estimating 22 million additional Americans would lose their insurance over the course of the next decade. This projection led Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) to declare she could not support the bill in its current form.

The CBO also estimated that the bill would lower premiums over the long-term, reduce the federal deficit by $321 billion and stabilize the insurance market.

“We're optimistic that we're going to get a result that’s better than the status quo,” McConnell said.

The Senate's recess, which begins after this week, lasts until July 10.