The Slatest

Republican Senate Leaders Will Delay Vote on Health Care Bill That Everyone Hates

Mike Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at the Capitol on Tuesday.

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing back this week’s planned vote on the Republican health care bill, every news outlet on Capitol Hill has simultaneously reported. The Republican Senate caucus is also said to be meeting with Donald Trump at the White House at 4 p.m.

As every publication and individual person who has been following this story also simultaneously noted/realized, GOP House leaders famously canceled a planned health care vote earlier this year before passing a slightly modified version of their bill about a month later. So this does not mean that the Obamacare replacement effort is dead. It does, however, seemingly mean that the objections that many Republican senators raised to their chamber’s bill—especially after its CBO score was released Monday—were not just empty posturing. (As Nate Silver notes, a GOP health bill was going to always be more difficult to pass in the Senate than in the House because the party holds a smaller majority in the upper chamber.)

For the bill’s opponents, the delay means a chance to exert more pressure on vulnerable Republican moderates, who will (presumably) be returning to their states to march in parades and whatnot over the Fourth of July holiday. On the other hand, as Politico reported, Monday’s CBO score also indicated that the bill would be $188 billion cheaper than Republicans had planned for—which in practice means that the party’s leaders now have $188 billion to give out to placate wavering members.

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