Posted: Tuesday, July 11, 2017 – 12:03 PM
The US Senate will delay its summer break by two weeks to focus on breaking an impasse over health care reform and other pending work, Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday.
A day after getting a firm nudge from President Donald Trump to pass a health care reform bill, McConnell blamed what he called a “lack of cooperation” from Democrats as he announced the recess will now start in mid-August, rather than at the end of July.
“Once the Senate completes its work on health care reform, we will turn to other important issues including the National Defense Authorization Act and the backlog of critical nominations that have been mindlessly stalled by Democrats,” McConnell said.
“The Senate will delay the start of the August recess until the third week of August.”
Several senators supported McConnell’s move, including from within his own party.
“Delaying the start of the August in-state work period is the right move. We’ve got important work that needs to continue,” said Republican Senator Cory Gardner.
Trump has made repealing and replacing the 2010 Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, a priority, and last month expressed confidence that the Senate bill — a revised version of a House draft — would be a “phenomenal” plan with “heart.”
But McConnell, known as a seasoned tactician, was humiliated last month when he had to postpone a vote on the bill when he realized he did not have the votes for passage, amid a revolt by conservative and moderate Republicans.
With Democrats united in opposition, McConnell needs the votes from at least 50 of the 52 Senate Republicans to get the measure passed. But at least 10 Republicans have said they will not support the bill as written.
The Senate draft would keep some parts of Obamacare intact, but strip away much of its funding. It also rolls back the expansion of Medicaid, the federal health care program for the poor and disabled.
Some senators have suggested the bill — which polls show is widely unpopular among everyday people — is dead in the water.
© Agence France-Presse