Two Republicans defect, deliver death blow to Senate health care bill

Republicans could lose just one more vote or the bill wouldn’t go to the floor.

The second version of the Senate Republican health care bill is dead for now.

Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) announced simultaneously on Monday evening that they would not support the motion to proceed, ultimately killing this version of the Senate’s bill that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Republicans were trying to pass the bill via budget reconciliation, meaning a majority of the Senate must vote on a motion to proceed to allow the bill to go to the floor for debate.


Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Rand Paul (R-KY) said last week that they would vote against the motion to proceed. The GOP could lose only three votes or the bill would not go to the floor, and Lee and Moran mark the third and fourth.

“After conferring with trusted experts regarding the latest version of the Consumer Freedom Amendment, I have decided I cannot support the current version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act,” Lee said in a statement Monday night. “In addition to not repealing all of the Obamacare taxes, it doesn’t go far enough in lowering premiums for middle class families; nor does it create enough free space from the most costly Obamacare regulations.”

Moran echoed Lee in his own statement.

“We should not put our stamp of approval on bad policy,” Moran’s statement said. “We must now start fresh with an open legislative process to develop innovative solutions that provide greater personal choice, protections for pre-existing conditions, increased access and lower overall costs for Kansans.”


A large group of senators, including Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), John Hoeven (R-ND), and Dean Heller (R-NV), and Jeff Flake (R-AZ), were also undecided about the bill. Lee and Moran’s decision to come out against the legislation will likely trigger a number of additional announcements of votes against the motion to proceed.

Over the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), announced he would delay the vote on the bill because Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is still recovering from surgery for a blood clot. McConnell reportedly delayed the vote because he could not afford to lose a single vote on the bill, but the move is moot now that Lee and Moran will vote against the motion to proceed.

President Donald Trump promised to quickly repeal and replace Obamacare many times on the campaign trail and since he has been in office.

“You’re going to end up with great health care for a fraction of the price and that’s gonna take place immediately after we go in,” he said at a rally in February 2016. “Okay? Immediately. Fast. Quick.”