After suffering the defeat of the Better Care and Reconciliation Act due to lack of votes, Senate Republicans' backup plan to repeal Obamacare has failed to get the votes needed to pass. As of Tuesday morning, three Republican senators declared their intention not to support the bill to repeal Obamacare now and replace it later.
Because of the 52-48 Republican majority in the Senate, only two senators could vote "no" on the bill for it to still pass with a tiebreaker vote from Vice President Mike Pence. Maine Sen. Susan Collins, West Virginia Sen. Shelly Moore Capito, and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski all voiced their opposition to repealing Obamacare without a replacement plan. According to The New York Times, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio also hinted that he opposed the idea.
On Monday, Sens. Jerry Morgan of Kansas and Mike Lee of Utah announced their decision to vote against the BCRA — the third and fourth Senators to do so — dealing a blow to the revised version of the Senate Republicans' health care plan. Therefore, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced a new plan to repeal Obamacare immediately and then delay replacement for two years to provide a transition period and form an agreement on a new system.
Republicans have been waiting for the chance to repeal former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act for the last seven years. They even took a practice-run vote in 2015 to repeal the ACA, which passed 52-47 and forced Obama to veto the bill. But for now, they'll have to come up with another way to strike down the health care act.
After it became clear that Senate Republicans didn't have the votes to pass the BCRA, President Donald Trump encouraged Congress to pass a repeal bill immediately:
Republicans should just REPEAL failing ObamaCare now & work on new Healthcare Plan that will start from a clean slate. Dems will join in!
He also once again blamed Democrats for not supporting the health care replacement:
We were let down by all of the Democrats and a few Republicans. Most Republicans were loyal, terrific & worked really hard. We will return!
Trump also told reporters on Tuesday:
I think we're probably in that position where we'll let Obamacare fail. We're not going to own it. I'm not going to own it. I can tell you, the Republicans are not going to own it.
He suggested that if the ACA collapses, it will force Democrats to work with Republicans to pass a new bill.
However, a small group of Senate Republicans locked Democrats — and most of their fellow Republicans — out of the process of drafting the BCRA, so inviting them to work together doesn't seem likely. Republicans have only a few weeks until Congress' summer recess, so we'll have to wait to see what the next plan will be.