The Republicans are running out of time. After seven years of promising to repeal Obamacare, it seems the GOP is headed toward failure yet again this week, unless the party leaders can somehow reverse what appears to be a growing opposition to the effort. Sen. Ted Cruz was the latest to signal his opposition to the Graham-Cassidy bill, noting it didn’t do enough to bring down the cost of health care.
“Right now, they don’t have my vote,” Cruz said during a panel discussion in Austin. “And I don’t think they have Mike Lee’s vote, either.” Cruz said that he and fellow senator Lee offered amendments to Graham-Cassidy that would decrease premiums but they weren’t included in the latest draft of the bill. But Cruz wasn’t all negative, saying the measure also has some “very good elements.”
Cruz is hardly alone. Earlier on Sunday, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine made it clear she’s unlikely to support the bill either. She had previously said she was “leaning agains” the legislation but sounded more sure of her decision on Sunday, when she told CNN it was “very difficult for me to envision a scenario where I would end up voting for this bill.” Collins said she wants to see the analysis from the Congressional Budget Office before making a final decision.
With Cruz and Collins that means there are at least five Republicans in the 52-member caucus that said they wouldn’t support the bill or were at least leaning against it. Sen. Lisa Mukowski has yet to give her full support to the bill and Sens. John McCain and Rand Paul have both said they would not back the measure. With the two “no” votes from McCain and Paul, a third would doom the bill since no Democrats are expected to support the measure.
Time is running out for Republicans to get support for the bill as lawmakers only have until Saturday to pass it with a simple majority rather than the usual 60 votes.
Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy both appeared on ABC’s This Week Sunday to defend their legislation and express optimism that the bill will ultimately be approved. “We’re moving forward and we’ll see what happens next week. I’m very excited about it. We finally found an alternative to Obamacare that makes sense,” Graham said. “I think we’re going to get the votes next week.”