This is a mere formality, but a nice one: Republican leaders have announced that there will be no voted on the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill, which would likely have resulted in millions of Americans losing their health insurance. Rand Paul, John McCain, and Susan Collins have publicly pledged to vote no on the bill, and with those three Republican defections, there was no mathematical way for the bill to reach the necessary 50 votes. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of the co-authors of the bill, left open the possibility of a what-the-hell type vote, but cooler heads prevailed, and there will be no Obamacare repeal before the Sep. 30 deadline—after which Republicans would need an impossible 60 votes to pursue further action.
As CNN reports, there is a chance that Republicans could tie healthcare into their upcoming tax bill, but at the moment it seems like a nonstarter, since it would be likely to fail and jeopardize the tax bill in the process:
One idea — which hardly enjoys widespread support at the moment — is to tie both health care and tax reform to the 2018 budget.
Graham and Sen. Ron Johnson, who both sit on the budget committee, have advocated for this idea. It has raised concerns among Republican lawmakers and staff alike who know just how messy that could potentially be.
One GOP aide bluntly described that scenario as “a nightmare.”
Donald Trump, predictably, is upset, and has taken more shots at the abstaining Republicans:
“At some point there will be a repeal and replace but we’ll see whether or not that point is now or whether it will be shortly thereafter,” Trump said. “But we are disappointed in certain so-called Republicans.”
Interestingly, Trump’s frustration with Republicans has led him to float the idea of working with Democrats on a healthcare plan. Which might be the most far-fetched thing he’s said yet.