Donald Trump's Ultimate Strategy

Republicans’ latest efforts to abolish health reform known as Obamacare failed

Obama care

The latest blow to Republicans’ intent to repeal Obamacare is set to force President Trump’s government to change its health care policy strategy.

The US Senate struck a devastating blow to Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare by voting against the bill to revoke part of its provisions early on Friday. Republican Senators John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins joined the Democrats opposing the bill, resulting in a total of 51 votes against to 49 in favor. The bill, officially known as the Health Care Freedom Act, but known as the “skinny bill, was passed by a majority of the House of Representatives in May and represented the third attempt to revoke key parts of Obamacare.

But while the women senators' negative votes were predictable given their  openly expressed opposition against it, McCain's decision to oppose the bill  caused more surprise. The Senator from Arizona has been critical of President Donald Trump and has openly expressed his rejection of the government’s Russia and foreign policy while keeping a relatively low profile  in the health care debate.

Ahead of the key vote, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence arrived to the Capitol to cast the decisive vote in case of a tie, a privilege granted to him in the role as President of the Senate. President Donald Trump reacted to the no vote on Twitter urging Congressional Republican leaders to let Obamacare "implode" rather than continuing to seek its replacement.

"3 Republicans and 48 Democrats failed the American people," the president tweeted, alluding to the close vote on Friday. The failure to repeal Obamacare is all the more shocking to Trump as this has been key goal of Republicans for years and also constitutes one of the main promises of Trump's election campaign.

Following the failure in today's vote, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell admitted his disappointment declaring time to "move on."

Thus, it is not clear if McConnell will try to submit another proposal to vote before the summer recess of the Senate.  Before today's rejection of the "skinny law", two other projects had already failed since the debate opened on Tuesday in the Upper House. McConnell hoped to push forward a plan to simply repeal Obamacare all the while providing lawmakers with a "two-year stable transition period" in order to   design a replacement plan. But Senators Susan Collins, Shelley Moore Capito and Lisa Murkowski said they would not support their party's proposal to repeal Obamacare without an immediate plan to replace it.

House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan had voiced a willingness to negotiate with the Senate to produce a bill that could be signed by Trump. Following the defeat of the "skinny law," Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer encouraged Republicans to "work together to improve" the current health care bill.

"We're not celebrating it, we're relieved," Schumer said, urging to "turn the page" and reminding everyone that Republican proposals would threaten to leave millions of people uninsured. "We can work together, the country demands it," he concluded.

The reality is that, for now, there are no minimum changes on which Republican senators agree. This means that  they will either have to work alongside the Democrats or resign themselves to stagnation. They could also decide to focus their attention instead on another subject, such as taxes or spending on infrastructure.

 

Latin American Post | Carlos Eduardo Gómez Avella

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto 

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