Six GOP senators are voting against a bipartisan Senate plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, setting up a showdown between Republicans and Democrats over the future of President Donald Trump’s signature healthcare law.
The move puts the Senate on track to pass a healthcare bill without the help of Democrats.
Republicans have a 52-seat majority, and the Senate has been split since early January.
The bill was initially set to be voted on by senators Wednesday, but the Senate voted late Thursday to delay the vote.
The procedural maneuver gives Republicans the chance to pass their own bill, which would take effect in a few months.
The Senate could take up the bill in a simple majority vote, or by a 51-vote majority.
The vote on the Senate floor could come as early as Friday morning.
“We cannot afford to lose an opportunity to pass this bipartisan bill without any Democratic votes,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski Lisa Ann MurkowskiGOP leaders delay Kavanaugh vote as vote nears Top Republicans: Trump has to get ‘yes’ on health care vote MORE (R-Alaska), the third-ranking Senate Republican, said in a statement.
“This is a vote we cannot afford.
It’s a vote that puts the American people’s health at risk and puts our health and safety at risk.”
Sen. Susan Collins Susan Margaret CollinsGOP senators delay Kavanaugh nomination for one-week FBI investigation Republicans hold fast to GOP Senate majority if they lose on Kavanaugh MORE (Maine) said the bill “will do absolutely nothing to help the American middle class and it will hurt the American working class.”
She added that “anybody who says it will help the middle class or working class is a liar.”
The vote comes just hours after Republicans unveiled a plan to eliminate a requirement that people buy insurance on the Obamacare exchanges.
The legislation would give states flexibility to waive the requirement in the first few years of the law and to offer people more choices.
The measure, which was written by Sen. Rand Paul Randal (Rand) Howard PaulA Senator Gary Johnson could be good not just for Libertarians, but for the GOP in 2020 How the Trump tax law passed: Obstacles quickly emerge Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills for first time | Groups furious over new Obama-era rules | Dems vow to protect Medicaid MORE (Ky.), also passed by a vote of 52-48.
Collins said the move “would undermine the Affordable Healthcare Act.”
“It would allow states to opt out of the mandate entirely, leaving millions of Americans uninsured,” she said.
Sen. Ron Johnson Ronald (Ron) Harold JohnsonTrump says he has ‘total confidence’ he can beat ISIS Gary Johnson to replace Ryan as White House chief of staff Biden names top GOP donors MORE (Wis.) was the lone Republican to vote against the bill.
Collins is one of the few senators to have come out in support of the repeal bill, with her vote coming after a White House meeting on Wednesday.
Sens Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowksi, Shelley Moore Capito Shelley Wellons Moore CapitanoSenate GOP senators delay vote on Kavanaugh Trump admin official to meet with Trump on Iran sanctions Hillicon Valley: Trump signs $1.8 billion tax cut, infrastructure bill | Dems set to push for border wall MORE (N.C.), John McCain John Sidney McCainTrump: ‘The American people are sick and tired of hearing about’ Russia, including Trump & Putin Overnight Defense: McCain honored in Capitol ceremony | Mattis says Mattis ‘should have gone through’ Overnight defense: McCain honoured in Capitol commencement | Mattis explains remarks to House on Iran nuclear deal | ‘A strong leader is not an excuse’ | ‘We should not be retreating from this’ MORE (Ariz.) and Tom Cotton Thomas (Tom) Bryant CottonHouse Republicans introduce bill to end federal subsidies to Planned Parenthood House GOP senators introduce bill on ‘Iran sanctions’ Cotton says Iran ‘is a threat’ to the region and the world MORE (Ark.) also voted against the repeal measure.
Collins and McCain also have the support of moderate Republicans, including Sens.
Lindsey Graham Lindsey Olin GrahamGOP senators unveil plan to keep Obama on as FBI director Graham: ‘I have no illusions about what a strong and respected FBI director would look like’ Graham: Trump should not speak to Comey, Sessions amid Comey’s firing MORE (S.C.) and Bill Cassidy William (Bill) Morgan CassidyGOP senators introduce plan to end government funding for Planned Parenthood Cassidy to endorse ‘Trumpcare’ Cassidy to vote yes on Kavanaugh: ‘We have to pass it’ Cassidy on Kavanaugh and Reid: ‘These are tough choices’ MORE(La.), who have also been critical of the proposal.
Shelley Moore-Bacon told reporters that the bill will not help middle-class families, but “they should be able to have health insurance.”
Sen.(Wis.), a centrist, said he was concerned that Republicans would attempt to repeal Medicaid expansion by defunding it and