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Lacking support from their own party, Senate Republicans delay health care vote

Senate Republican leadership announced Tuesday that they would delay the vote on legislation they say would repeal and replace Obamacare until after the Fourth of July recess.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that the vote, which was originally scheduled for Thursday, would be postponed until after the Fourth of July recess. That means the upper chamber will not vote on the legislation before July 8.

The sudden about-face came just one day after the Congressional Budget Office released a report that estimated the Senate health care bill would result in 22 million fewer people having health insurance. Following the CBO report, moderate Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins announced that she would vote on on the legislation in its current form.

I want to work w/ my GOP & Dem colleagues to fix the flaws in ACA. CBO analysis shows Senate bill won’t do it. I will vote no on mtp. 1/3

— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) June 26, 2017

CBO says 22 million people lose insurance; Medicaid cuts hurt most vulnerable Americans; access to healthcare in rural areas threatened. 2/3

— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) June 26, 2017

Senate bill doesn’t fix ACA problems for rural Maine. Our hospitals are already struggling. 1 in 5 Mainers are on Medicaid. 3/3

— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) June 26, 2017

And Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, another moderate Republican voice, said she didn’t know yet how she would vote.

“I don’t have enough data in terms of the impact to my state to be able to vote in the affirmative,” Murkowski told CNN Monday night.

The moderate Republican opposition to the bill in its current form came as at least five conservative Republican lawmakers — Sens. Mike Lee (Utah), Ted Cruz (Texas), Rand Paul (Ky.), Ron Johnson (Wis.) and Dean Heller (Nev.) — have also voiced disagreement with the Senate bill as it is written now.

“There are provisions in this draft that represent an improvement to our current health care system but it does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their health care costs,” the Lee, Cruz, Paul, and Johnson said in a joint statement last week.

The bill, under reconciliation rules, needs at least 51 votes to advance out of the Senate. If Republicans can compile 50 votes, Vice President Mike Pence, who serves as president of the Senate, would cast the tie-breaking vote.

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