A procedural vote on the repeal of Obamacare has been scheduled for Tuesday. “For the information of all Senators, at the request of the President and Vice President and after consulting with our members, we will have the vote on the Motion to Proceed to the Obamacare repeal bill early next week,” said Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate Majority leader.
Press reports have already said the vote is dead in the water, and McConnell is usually circumspect about having Senate votes that are not locked in. At this point, Susan Collins of Maine, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have declared their opposition to the vote, and with a Republican edge of only 52-48 that would effectively kill it.
Additionally, Senator John McCain who was just diagnosed with cancer, and will not be available for the vote. It appears a successful will be near impossible without major changes in the bill.
However since this at the request of Trump and Pence, one can speculate on what might happen in the next few days. Here is our take:
1. Major changes will be in the bill to accommodate those three senators.
2. Trump and Pence will reach out to the three Senators to negotiate and deal.
3. (and most likely) Trump and Pence will reach out to the three Senators, twist their arms, and threaten their very existence, and make lavish promises for compliance.
Congress is a mercenary place, who knows if the current hold outs care about repealing Obamacare or are actually negotiating for something else.
But it always happens (in every instance I’ve seen), when a President has a close majority in both the House and the Senate, certain of members play high stakes politics. In fact, this was the situation with Obamacare when it first passed, and it took a year to get a passing vote.
I have no doubt that Obamacare repeal will happen. Its too much of the Republican agenda to not happen, and no Senator wants to be responsible for a failure of the entire party.