Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) told WXII 12 News in North Carolina that he believes a health care deal will not pass through the Senate this year.
“It’s unlikely that we will get a health-care deal,” Burr admitted. The North Carolina senator said that the House-passed GOP health plan was “dead on arrival,” and that “I don’t see a comprehensive health care plan this year.”
Burr’s statement arises amidst a complicated pathway for Republicans to pass a health care bill through the Senate. Republicans control 52 seats in the upper chamber and need at least 50 votes and potentially Vice President Mike Pence to break a tie in the Senate. Establishment senators such as Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) remain opposed to the House’s American Health Care Act (AHCA), while conservative senators such as Rand Paul (R-KY), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Mike Lee (R-UT) want to push for more conservative measures in the Senate bill.
Crafting a bill that satisfies both the moderate and the conservative wings of the Senate has become increasingly complex. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) does not know how to build a Republican consensus on health care reform in the Senate at the moment.
McConnell (R-KY) told Reuters last week, “I don’t know how we get to 50 at the moment.”
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said, “The president in general finds it frustrating … how the Senate operates.”
President Trump tweeted this week that he hopes that the Senate can soon pass a health care overhaul bill. The president also believes that the Senate should switch to a 51 person majority to pass legislation. Switching to a 51 person majority might avoid the complications that arise from using budgetary reconciliation to pass health care and tax reform.
Hopefully Republican Senators, good people all, can quickly get together and pass a new (repeal & replace) HEALTHCARE bill. Add saved $’s.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2017
The U.S. Senate should switch to 51 votes, immediately, and get Healthcare and TAX CUTS approved, fast and easy. Dems would do it, no doubt!