WASHINGTON — The Senate will not vote this week on the Republicans’ latest effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, sidelining efforts for the foreseeable future to see through a key Republican priority.
“We don’t have the votes,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) told reporters. He was co-sponsoring the legislation with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), with a deadline of this week to pass such a bill with a simple majority. It will be much more difficult to do so in the coming months.
Although they pledged to continue to pursue repeal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that they would now move on to tax reform.
Opposition to the legislation began to build last week, particularly as Jimmy Kimmel began to bash the proposed legislation in a series of monologues on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” Kimmel tweeted after news broke of the latest development on Tuesday, writing, “Thanks to all who stood up and spoke out from this happy guy and his less-fortunate friends #GoodbyeGrahamCassidy,” along with a photo of his son, who was treated for a heart condition.
On Friday, Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) announced his opposition, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said on Monday that they would not vote for the latest version.
“The reason it failed is the American people didn’t like it,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters afterward.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) urged Republicans to work on bipartisan legislation to shore up the insurance marketplace. She has been working on a bill with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.)
“Trumpcare is finally set aside,” she said.
Outside the Capitol, Schumer appeared at a rally with representatives from a number of groups urging senators to reject the Graham-Cassidy bill.
“This is not a day for celebration. This is a day for relief,” he said.
He was interrupted at points by a woman who urged him to back Sen. Bernie Sanders’ legislation for a single-payer health system, dubbed “Medicare for all.” But Schumer called for unity among Democrats and other advocates of universal health care.
Schumer told Variety that he thought that Kimmel did have an impact on defeating the legislation.
“He did, because he comes from the heart because of his son. He did an amazing job.”