Congress Emerges From Another Health Care Failure Without A Clear Path Forward

Senators McCain Graham and Johnson threatened to drop their support. REUTERS

McCain and Graham say they are opposed to a minimal bill that would only repeal several provisions of former President Barack Obama's health care law.

The options were clear: vote for "skinny repeal" and get that version of the repeal bill to conference committee with the House of Representatives, where negotiators from the House and Senate could revise the bill further, or vote it down and effectively end the process, as no version of repeal legislation could reach 50 votes. It would have also suspended a tax on medical devices and denied federal payments to Planned Parenthood for a year.

"I don't feel like we're in a war, but I feel like there's deep disappointment among House Republicans that we did our work and got a bill out and they failed".

A House GOP leadership aide said no determinations have been made how a Senate-passed skinny-repeal bill might be handled in the other chamber. Republicans John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins joined the Democrats in voting down the measure, 49-51. Luther Strange, who the Senate leader supports, said, "if he wants to quit and move on, fine, he should resign from the leadership and let some bold new conservative leadership take over". He added, "I regret that our efforts simply were not enough this time".

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"We look forward to our colleagues on the other side suggesting what they have in mind", McConnell said in the statement.

On Twitter, McCain said the repeal bill "fell short of our promise to repeal & replace Obamacare w/ meaningful reform I hope we can rely on humility, cooperation & dependence on each other to better serve the people who elected us".

"3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down".

Just more than 12 million Americans, including about 133,000 Marylanders, have signed up for private insurance through the marketplaces created under the Obamacare law - which cater to people who don't purchase coverage through their employer. Ted Cruz told a pool of reporters after the midnight vote. "If Mitch McConnell can not get the job done then those 52 Republican senators have got to get together and try to figure out who amongst them have the leadership capability of getting the job done", he said. About 20 million Americans gained health care insurance under Obamacare. Republican leaders have been sending pieces of the legislation to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office to assess its impact and determine whether it complies with Senate rules. They were also the only two GOP senators to vote against the procedural vote Tuesday.

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The second effort called for outright repeal of Obamacare in two years' time, during which period Congress would be expected to agree on replacement legislation; that was rejected by a similar margin, with seven Republicans joining the unified Democratic minority bloc.

Speaking to a audience of law enforcement officers on Long Island, N.Y., President Trump said, "They should have approved health care last night, but you can't have everything, boy oh boy".

They headed home for a five-week summer recess having failed on a key policy goal they vowed to get done once they controlled Congress and the White House.

Akin to Mr. Trump's recent discovery about health care, it turns out that leadership is incredibly complicated.

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Yet as has happened every step of the way in the health care debate, no sooner did the "skinny bill" emerge than opposition arrayed against it.

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